Annual Soil Health Workshop with Blake Vince

February 6, 2024

9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Location: Baraboo Arts & Convention Center (323 Water St. Baraboo, WI)

Learn from Blake Vince, a fifth-generation farmer from Merlin, Ontario, Canada. Working with his father Elwin, they produce commercial corn, soybeans, winter wheat, and cover crop for seed on approximately 1,200 acres. Their farm management practices are centered on soil health. The Vince’s are considered to be no-till pioneers in their corner of Canada. They adapted to no-till farming techniques in the early 1980s, prior to John Deere entering the no-till marketplace with their single disk opener. Blake is a 2013 Canadian Nuffield Scholar. "I am very fortunate to have been taught, from a young age, the merits of no-till farming," Blake says. "My claim to fame, as a 50-year-old farmer, is that I have never used a moldboard plough."

Vince's objective is to leave the soil we manage in better condition for future generations. "This is true, regardless if our farm will be owned by my children or someone else's children. I am of the opinion that soil is not an infinite resource," Blake says. Today, in his corner of Southwestern Ontario, which is surrounded by the Great Lakes, he says there is a reversion away from no-till back towards conventional tillage. This has increased pressure on adjacent water bodies with nutrient loading due to soil erosion. "With the use of satellite imagery, it is easy to see the runoff impact from farm fields in Southwestern Ontario," Blake says. "This concerns me greatly since my family derives our drinking water from Lake Erie. Ongoing tillage practices are contributing to the annual recurrence of blue/green algae blooms in Lake Erie."