Future of Agriculture 123: Nerding Out About Soil Health with Dr. Abbey Wick of North Dakota State University


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Dr. Abbey Wick is an Extension Soil Health Specialist for North Dakota State University. In her position, she is responsible for producing soil health videos with topics ranging from soil erosion to cover crops. She is trained in soil organic matter dynamics, soil structural development, and microbial ecology. She believes all systems need a holistic approach encompassing every interaction within them. She implements this belief by working with landowners, industry, and government agencies throughout North Dakota.

Abbey joins me today to discuss the importance of soil health in the agricultural industry. She shares the story of how she got into the industry despite not having a rural background and why she decided to work on soil health. She describes what her normal, day-to-day routine is like especially when interacting with farmers. She also explains some of the projects she’s working on and how they can help the ag industry as well as the environment.

“Most farmers are not farming for themselves. They’re farming for the next generation." -Dr. Abbey Wick

This Week on The Future of Agriculture Podcast:

  • How she got into the agricultural industry despite not growing up on a farm.
  • Her role as an extension specialist and what she does on a daily basis.
  • What the farmers she works with think about soil health and their primary concerns.
  • The goals farmers set their priorities to.
  • The first step in maintaining soil health.
  • Can they optimize one crop to become the best cover crop?
  • Nitrogen and when farmers can utilize the type from the soil and not from fertilizers.
  • The tests involved in evaluating soil health.
  • What Abbey loves so much about soil.

Key Takeaways:

  • Data always lead us to directions that provide good guidance to within systems we can understand
  • No farmer wants to see soil just slough away.
  • Apply soil health practices in small sections of land first before covering the whole farm.
  • Planting nitrogen-fixing cover crops won't replace nitrogen fertilizers.

Resources Mentioned

Connect with Dr. Abbey Wick:

2019 AgGrad 30 Under 30

Help us celebrate the top 30 future leaders of agriculture! Nominate your favorite up-and-coming, future executives, innovators, and influencers in the following agriculture categories:

  • Agribusiness
  • Production Agriculture
  • Research & Technology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Education & Advocacy

Nominations for the 2019 AgGrad 30 Under 30 list are now open and are scheduled to close Thursday, January 31, 2019, at 11:59 PM. Self-nominations are accepted.

Winners will be announced March 2019.

To learn more about the eligibility requirements, announcement date and location, and to nominate for the 2019 AgGrad 30 Under 30 list, visit: 30Under30.ag

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The Future of Agriculture Podcast is now part of the Farm and Rural Ag Network. Listen to more ag-related podcasts by subscribing on iTunes or on the Farm and Rural Ag Network Website today.

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