Guelph, ON – Alan Kruszel, a grain and oilseeds producer from Stormont County has taken over as the President of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA) for 2015. Alan, his wife Lorraine and their three children Sam, Sophie and Stephanie, operate Green Meadow Farms in Newington, growing corn, IP soybeans, cereals, sunflowers and cover crops. They are transitioning to no-till farming and are putting a strong emphasis on soil health and sustainability on their operation. Alan and Lorraine are both Certified Crop Advisors and also run a small crop consulting business.
“We are striving to keep our land covered with something living as close to 365 days a year as possible,” states Kruszel. After years of conventional practices, they noticed their soils seemed to be lacking something. Organic matter levels were slowly going down and earth worm populations had noticeably declined. They decided it was time to try something different. Thanks to the many Soil and Crop events they’ve attended over the years, they got some great ideas on how to improve soil health. Over the last 10 years they have reduced tillage to virtually a complete no-till system while at the same time they started planting cover crops to enhance their soils. “Our organic matter levels are starting to improve and the earth worm populations are just exploding!” Alan said.
OSCIA celebrated its 76th year at their annual meeting recently, bringing together delegates from across Ontario. The annual meeting was an opportunity to reflect on what was learned in 2014 and hear from leading-edge experts in the industry. Summaries of the presentations will be published throughout the year in the OSCIA newsletters, in Crop Advances, and in Country Guide; as well the presentations will be available on the OSCIA website shortly.
The focus of this year’s meeting was on Soil Health, since 2015 is the International Year of Soils, as declared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Highlights from the 2015 OSCIA annual meeting were the launch of the OSCIA Soil and Crop Sustainability Fund, and the presentation of the annual OSCIA Soil Champion Award, this year going to Dean Glenney of Haldimand County.
“OSCIA was proud to announce the launch of the OSCIA Soil and Crop Sustainability Fund, in partnership with the University of Guelph, at the 2015 annual meeting” states Harold Rudy, Executive Officer, Research and Business Development. “The primary purpose of the fund will be to support applied research relating to soil and crop management, with the ‘Soil Health Graduate Scholarship’ as the first initiative for this OSCIA Fund.” Founding Partners of the Fund were appropriately recognized.