Sustainable ag society focusing on soil, grassfed beef

Farm Forum

The Northern Plains Sustainable Ag Society celebrated 35 years at their 35th annual winter conference Jan. 23-25 at the Ramkota Hotel in Aberdeen, which brought in more than 600 attendees.

The grassroots educational organization held the yearly conference for farmers, ranchers, producers and families to listen and discuss a variety of topics including sustainable agriculture and organic farms.

The conference continues to grow each year, and this year is the largest one they’ve had so far, said Dave Dahlberg, board member from West Fargo, N.D.

“The committee has been doing a really good job of getting the word out there and also having great presenters and workshops that people can really benefit from,” he said.

Dahlberg said two popular topics this year was the importance of minerals in both human and animal nutrition and grassfed livestock.

William Winter, of Cannon Falls Minn., and livestock consultant for Thousand Hills Cattle Company, spoke to farmers, ranchers and producers about the importance of putting nutrients back in the soil, which pesticides have played a part in killing.

“We need to put biology back into the soil. We want living soil, not just dirt,” he said. “Dirt won’t grow very much because it’s sterile, and we’ve sterilized it with our pesticides,” he said.

Winter, who is also a veterinarian, said it is important to put new microbes and new minerals back into the soil, such as limestone, or spray raw milk on the field, which would be something organic on the field to help put the biology back into the soil.

“Our whole goal here is to get away completely from pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. We’re focused on raising wholesome, healthy food.”

As for grassfed beef, Winter said, “You’ll never go back to cornfed once you’ve had grassfed beef.”

Other topics and discussions included minerals for the genetic code, raising chicken for Sunday dinner and raising culinary herbs for sale.

“We want people who come to the conference to really feel like they got their money’s worth and I feel like we accomplished that,” Dahlberg said.

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