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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

Soil Health Education for a Nontraditional Audience


While not commonly thought of as agriculture in the traditional sense, the greens industry is a major agricultural land use, as well as a significant economic driver. More importantly, it can directly impact environmental quality, either positively or negatively through chemical and water use as well as how it manages storm water. Recognizing the potential impact, considerable effort has gone into designing low or no input systems which reduce environmental impacts while maintaining functionality and aesthetical quality. Soil health is a cornerstone of creating these resilient low or no input systems.

To get the latest research-based information and techniques into the hands of industry, the University of Wisconsin-Extension holds an annual Landscape and Grounds Maintenance Short Course in Southeast Wisconsin. This year’s event, held in Kenosha, Waukesha and Sheboygan counties drew over 350 participants and focused heavily on pest prevention and creating pollinator habitat. Jim Stute, the Institutes Research Director discussed soil health, how to enhance it and its role in natural disease suppression. Most importantly he demonstrated how soil health improves infiltration which is critical for managing increased storm frequency and intensity cause by climate change.

It’s critical that the Institute hammers home this point at every opportunity because many agencies and organizations can’t even mention the problem in our current political climate.