September 12 Field Day on Advancing Soil Health


ROCHESTER, Minn. – Cover crops, small grains, and soil health will be the focus of a free Dodge Soil Water Conservation District (SWCD) and Olmsted SWCD field day on Tuesday, September 12, 2023 from 3 - 6 p.m., with a burger dinner to follow. Local farmers and crop producers are invited to the event taking place at Tom Pyfferoen’s farm at 53249 275th Avenue, Pine Island.

The event’s presenters include farmers Martin Larsen, Landon Plagge, and Tom Pyfferoen; Saddle Butte Ag representative TJ Kartes; and Soil Scientist Steve Lawler. They will share experiences and provide a firsthand look at soil-building methods. Highlights will include:

Looking at a root soil pit.

Cover crop seeding equipment.

The profitability and future of oats in our region.

Olmsted SWCD will further share details about how other local producers can get involved in soil health practices through the Olmsted County Soil Health Program. Farmers can use the cost-share program to implement new management practices that protect Olmsted County’s water and soil.

“Hearing from local farmers will guide other producers to embrace progressive practices,” said Olmsted SWCD Manager Skip Langer. “We hope with our soil health program, producers have the tools to implement practices to safeguard our county’s resources.”

About the presenters

Pyfferoen has been using no-till and cover-crop practices since 2013. Pyfferoen will share his journey into soil health and the equipment that has helped him be successful. Kartes will also provide information on using cover crops and practical guidance for first-time users.

Larsen and Plagge have been growing oats for more than three years, finding financial gains and operational resiliency in corn and soybean rotation. Plagge has also invested in a grain cleaner and bins to support a growing local market in Iowa.

Steve Lawler is a resource specialist with the Mower SWCD. He is currently responsible for developing a soil health initiative and providing local research on implementing soil health best management practices and the impact on soil resources. He runs a farm near Rochester incorporating no-till and cover crop practices for commodity crop production and rotational grazing for cow-calf production.

“Our presenters bring a wealth of invaluable insights to local producers, spanning from practical advice to groundbreaking practices shaping the landscape of sustainable agriculture,” said Langer.

Those interested in attending the field day should RSVP by Sunday, September 10, 2023. Contact Olmsted SWCD Soil Conservation Technician Shona Langseth at 507-328-6905 or visit the Olmsted Soil Health Program webpage to register and learn more.


About Olmsted County

Olmsted County is the seventh largest county in the state of Minnesota with eight cities (Rochester being the largest), 18 townships, and approximately 163,440 residents. The county is governed by seven individuals elected to serve on the Olmsted County Board of Commissioners, and county services are supported by nearly 1,300 Olmsted County government employees working to provide the foundation of a vibrant community. For more information, visit

About Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District

The mission of the Olmsted Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is to promote more sustainable resources utilization and protection of natural resources in the county. The SWCD assists farmers, communities, watershed planners, and landowners in developing and implementing conservation and resource management systems and practices including tree sales. The SWCD also serves as a source for conservation and resource information and provides environmental education for county residents.