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IDEAS & ADVICE

A VOICE FOR SOIL HEALTH

Jim Kopriva

 

Jim Kopriva farms near Raymond. He and his wife rent about the same amount of land as they own, from multiple owners. They farm with their son Lee, with separate operations, using no-till, pasture rotation, cover cropping, and other soil health practices.

Ideas and Advice for NOLOs

Beyond sustaining to building soil...

"I choose to farm using no-till, pasture rotation, cover cropping. All these things not only offer me an economic stability, and diversity, but they allow me to actually improve the soil I’m working with. Not sustain it, but actually improve it."

Resources are gifts...

"These are sacred gifts, our natural resources. We have no right to deplete them. So for us to mine them, and deplete them and turn them over to the next generation in poor condition, that’s just morally wrong."

Look for good saddle partners...

"Soil health practices benefit everybody. But perhaps the guy that’s out there really has no desire to take care of the land and therefore he will deplete it. So maybe they’re not good saddle partners, maybe they’re going to have to split and go on different paths."

Learn from experienced producers...

"I think a landowner has an obligation to learn what is proper care of the land. What is overgrazing, what is pasture rotation, what is no-tilling, what is cover cropping. These are all things that come with the responsibility of land ownership. There’s information out there. In South Dakota, information is readily available through the South Dakota Grassland Coalition and the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition. Both of those groups sell a membership for about 30 dollars a year and that makes those members eligible to go to maybe a dozen or 15 learning opportunities a year. Those opportunities are just priceless. They’re put on by operators. It’s just a very easy, very accessible, source of  accurate, current information.