“Revitalizing Agriculture Systems” workshop to be held at the OACD State Meeting

Read the words of Dr. Jill Clapperton.

After doing so, close your eyes for a second and absorb them. Think about your farm or ranch and the potential beneath your feet.

Here’s what Dr. Clapperton, a world-renowned soil health expert, once said, “When we are standing on the ground, we are really standing on the roof of another world. Living in the soil are plant roots, viruses, bacteria, fungi, algae, protozoa, mites, nematodes, worms, ants, maggots and other insects and insect larvae (grubs), and larger animals: the soil biota. Indeed, the number of living organisms below ground is considered to be far greater than that above ground.”

Clapperton is the keynote speaker for “Revitalizing Agriculture Systems,” the producer soil health track during the 2020 Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) State Meeting, Feb. 25 at the Edmond Convention Center, 2833 Conference Drive in Edmond. This is part of a three-day conference.

Clapperton is the Principal Scientist and CEO of Rhizoterra Inc. She is an internationally recognized educator on how to create and maintain healthy productive soils that produce tasty nutrient dense food. Clapperton has a PhD in Plant Ecophysiology, and worked as the Rhizosphere Ecologist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for 16 years before founding Rhizoterra Inc. She said, “We know that healthy soils diversify and regenerate essential ecosystem services; improving air and water quality, the health of ourselves and our animals, and so much more.”

Clapperton is part of an impressive lineup of speakers for the fourth annual producer soil health track at the OACD State Meeting.

National speakers also include Loran Steinlage of Iowa, and a panel discussion about how to market soil health to increase profitability for producers featuring Jason Weller of Land O’Lakes SUSTAIN, Barry Knight of Indigo Ag, and Rod Snyder from Field to Market.

Steinlage and wife, Brenda specialize in adapting practices and equipment unique to the edge of the Driftless area. The Steinlages are evolving to companion/relay no-till cropping system which is focused on cycling plants to keep a living plant in the soil at all times to help aid in moisture management and weed suppression. They are currently producing corn, soybeans, cereal rye, winter wheat, malt barley and buckwheat.

Weller, Senior Director of Sustainability at Land O’Lakes, Inc., joined Land O’Lakes, Inc., in 2017 where he develops conservation solutions for the farmer cooperative’s members and owners. He previously served as Chief of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, the nation’s largest working lands conservation organization that partners with farmers and ranchers to deliver assistance to protect and improve the quality of their operations’ natural resources. Prior to serving as Chief, Jason served on the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, the U.S. House Budget Committee, and in the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Knight, head of Indigo Research Partners, oversees the world’s largest agriculture laboratory. Prior to joining Indigo, he held senior positions in agricultural companies as CEO of Cresco Ag, CCO of Pinnacle Ag Holdings, and President of Jimmy Sanders. Knight received a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy from Oklahoma State University and a Master of Science degree in Agronomy specializing in plant breeding from Mississippi State University.

Snyder is President of Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a diverse alliance working to create opportunities across the agricultural supply chain in the United States for continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality, and human well-being. Prior to this role, Snyder held positions as Public Policy Director for the National Corn Growers Association and Government Affairs Leader for CropLife America. He is particularly recognized for his work at the intersection of agricultural and environmental issues. In 2015, Snyder co-founded the Sustainable Agriculture Summit, which has grown to be the largest and most prominent annual sustainable agriculture conference in North America.

Plus this meeting will highlight some of Oklahoma’s outstanding producers. Jimmy Emmons of Leedey, the Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Regional Coordinator for the USDA Southern Plains Region and the 2017 Leopold Conservation Award Recipient, will serve as the producer track emcee for the day. Russ Jackson of Mountain View, the 2018 Leopold Conservation Award Recipient, is among the speakers, and there will be a focus on improving the quality of grazing lands soil health with presentations by Kim Barker of the Oklahoma Grazinglands Coalition and producer Bill Payne.

 “OACD is thrilled to be able to offer the ‘Revitalizing Agriculture Systems’ workshop this year,” OACD President Larry Wright said. “Oklahoma producers are some of the best in the nation when it comes to conservation and this workshop is a great continuing educational opportunity for us all.”

 Registration is only $100 for the one-day Soil Health Track, and lunch, Tuesday, Feb. 25, offers four Continuing Education Units (CEU) for Soil and Water Management and Crop Management. A $50 student rate is also being offered.

 To register online, please go to . 

The overall OACD State Meeting runs Feb. 23-25. There are also several opportunities for sponsors. For questions regarding registration or sponsorship, please contact Kayla Anderson, (405) 819-4593,, or Sarah Blaney, (517)763-8609,