(Editor’s Note: The following article was submitted by the University of Minnesota Extension.)
The University of Minnesota Extension is offering free soil health tests in high tunnels and fields to 100 vegetable farmers across the state. The goal is to learn more about the state of soils on small to medium-scale vegetable farms (less than 1 acre to 50 acres) to develop better educational programming in the future.
Participants will receive complimentary soil tests that include a primary soil series (texture, organic matter, pH, phosphorus, potassium), exchangeable Ca, Mg, Na, and K, electrical conductivity, and nitrate. The University of Minnesota will conduct various soil health tests at each farm, including bulk density, aggregate stability, a count of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), and active organic matter. They will also take a water sample from each farm to test for pH and alkalinity. Anthony Adams, local extension educator, will perform testing.
These are free tests and farm-specific data will not be publicly shared. All data generated from this project will be aggregated, so each farm will be one data point among 100 farms.
Participation is 100% voluntary. Participants will not be paid, but will receive $135 worth of soil analyses. Participants will also receive complimentary 1:1 feedback on their soil tests. All testing will occur during the second half of April 2023.
Those interested in participating can sign up here: z.umn.edu/Soiltest23
Funds for testing and analysis are being provided through a grant from the University of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station’s Rapid Response Fund. Signing up does not guarantee soil testing since there may be more than 100 requests.
Please reach out to Natalie Hoidal with questions: Hoida016@umn.edu or your local Extension office. Residents in Quad Counties (Stearns, Benton, Morrison, or Sherburne) may call 320-255-6169 or 320- 632-0161 or email AnthonyA@umn.edu.