Monday, March 1, 2021

Farmer, researcher win soil management awards

Dr. Laura Van Eerd, a professor of sustainable soil management in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown campus, is this year’s Soil Champion for research chosen by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association.

Harry DenOtter of Kingsville is the farming Soil Champion.

Van Eerd’s research includes cover crops to improve soil health, enhance nitrogen use efficiency and mitigate edge-of-field losses, said Chad Anderson, chairman of the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. 

“Her systems-based approach explores interconnections among soil, crops, microbes, greenhouse gases, nutrients and farm management,” he said. 


Van Eerd said her research would not be possible if she did not have the support of the OSCIA, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and farm groups.

“Most importantly, I want to thank my research team… my technicians, Mike Zink who retired a few years ago, and Shawn Fink’s excellent work,” she said, adding “countless” students.

Denotter “is truly an ambassador for sustainable conservation-minded farming systems,” said Anderson.. “He is widely recognized and respected as an advocate of soil health.”


Anderson said the Denotter farm relies heavily on cover crops, riparian buffers, tree windbreaks and structural measures along ditch banks to control soil erosion. 

“They’ve also recently established a one-acre pollinator plot,” he said. “(And) Henry’s currently involved at the Edge of Field Research site as part of the ONFarm program.”