This year CSANR sponsored registration for several WSU students to attend the Tilth Conference. We will post reflections written by the students over the next several weeks. Please feel free to comment and give these students your feedback.
My name is Adel Almesmari, and I have a Master’s Degree in Horticulture. I am presently working towards my Ph.D. in the Horticulture department at Washington State University. This is my second time consecutively to attend the Tilth Conference and it was a pleasure again this year in Vancouver, Washington.
My expectations for the second time attending the Tilth Conference included having the opportunity to communicate with professionals and farmers, also learning from workshops. This year’s conference focused on many themes including sustainable systems, farm business, special topic workshops, and marketing workshops, but I was interested in my area in particular, which is sustainable systems. This event brought ideas and people from different trends to understand sustainable and organic farming.
One of the most intriguing topics to me was biodynamic farming, which involves managing a farm as an integrated livestock and crop system based on soil health and food quality. The speaker, Clay Wesson, explained that the excessive use of chemical fertilizers has led to soil depletion, which has led to the development of bio-biodynamic agriculture. He followed with a simplified explanation of the deep principles and practices required for bio-agriculture to achieve the health and vitality of soil, nutrients and seeds. Clay also revealed the modern and innovative ways in which biomechanics can be applied to grow the most nutrients and vitality possible. Clay then talked about making manure, recycling materials from within the plantations, increasing fertility, developing soil life and stabilizing organic matter with more carbon which may help to restore equilibrium to the climate.
Then Clay Wesson, moved to six compost bio-preparations made of unique medicinal herbs: yarrow flowers, chamomile blossoms, the whole areal portion of the stinging nettle while in flower, oak bark, dandelion blossoms and valerian flowers. These flowers are added to a compost pile and mixed well with the addition of water. Where they enhance the quality of manure through the stability of nitrogen and other nutrients, multiply the microbial diversity, bring more sensitivity to the fertilizer process. Also, these additions help adjust the temperature inside the compost pile and improvement in the establishment of the final compost structure with excellent humus. As well as he clarified how the farmer can make compost and the use of compost biomass preparations on a farm scale. While not all workshops met my expectations, (some of them felt like advertisements for a particular product), I was always able to look at another workshop that could be interesting and I could learn something new.
The conference was not only a chance to learn, there were many opportunities for communication with farmers, which increased my knowledge about the difficulties they are facing and also what they aspire to. All this enriched my knowledge and increased my understanding of the scale of agricultural development as well as a future perspective on everything related to agriculture.
I am grateful to the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences’ Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources (CSANR) for giving me the opportunity to attend Tilth Conference and participate in this valuable event with great respect and appreciation.