Personal Reflection: Kurt

Sub-Edge Farm Tour

In this internship, I gained knowledge from a multitude of experiences, but there were some that gave me more of a deeper understanding of soil science. One such example that stood out from the others was a tour of the Sub Edge Farm, where our team not only viewed the farm itself, but an evaluation of its sustainable practices.

To begin with its benefits to my understanding of soil science, it gave me a specific interest in seeing the farm systems that make it more sustainable. This in-person visit was enough to make me want to delve into what else I could uncover regarding how other systems work. One of the highlights was an immensely large compost pile that was added to by several other farms, which is constantly maintained for its cycle in order to maximize the amount of value that it provides for the soil. Next, we witnessed cover crops over the soil, and the mowing over of them in order to maintain the healthy soil. Lastly, we witnessed the amount of runoff that is recycled, and its harvesting from the roofs to the rain barrels.

Additionally, this experience demonstrated to me what a day in the life of a soil scientist looks like. During our visit, we had state agronomist Jim Hyde with us as he evaluated the conservation practices that the farm was using. One of the parts he looked at was the cover cropping, where he took a sample of the plants used as cover crops and assessed the moisture content of each in order to determine overall health of it. This also led me to a broader understanding of how much careful observation goes into assessing a farm’s conservation practices. Next, we saw how the drainage of the water impacts the soil, and the sandy driveway that makes up the entrance to the farm. Lastly, we learned from him what some of the practices that make a farm more successful and sustainable, and how being proactive with troubleshooting can lead to more success.

To conclude, this experience at the Sub Edge Farm led me to grasp what a soil scientist’s duties look like. It not only encompassed what a soil scientist actually can do on a daily basis, but taught me what to look for as a beginner in terms of improving soil health in my life.