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Saskatchewan farm finds ways to survive suring sustained dry conditions

If drought relief doesn’t fall from above, grow it from below. That’s how one Saskatchewan farm has survived and thrived during the past five years.

The non-profit Soil Health Academy (SHA) announced that Gavelin Farms will host its three-day school, Jun. 25 to 27 at McCord, Sask. to show other farmers how to do the same.

Michael Thiele is a regenerative farming consultant and instructor for the upcoming school.

“Across 2,000 acres of pasture and hay ground, 2,000 acres of cash crops, and 200 acres of carefully curated cover crops, the Gavelin family has implemented regenerative practices that have led to improved profits and resiliency through protracted periods of drought,” Thiele said.

According to Thiele, third-generation farmers Calvin and Marla Gavelin have embraced their role as stewards of the land, making decisions that contribute to the broader community.

“Those attending the upcoming school will see, firsthand, how practical management based on the soil health principles results in reduced input costs, improved ecosystem function, healthier animals, improved profits—and a more enjoyable life on the farm,” he said. “They will see how and why the economic health of the farmer is directly connected to the ecological health of the farm.”

Thiele will be among several farming instructors at the school who will teach ways to reduce chemical fertilizers and pesticides; reduce labor and machinery costs; build plant, animal, and beneficial insect diversity; enhance grazing productivity and efficiency; and make farming and ranching fun and profitable.

“I’ve worked with dozens of agricultural producers throughout Saskatchewan over the years and most have told me that while they’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment and inputs, they rarely invest in themselves,” Thiele said. “This school offers the opportunity for producer self-investment by learning how to successfully implement the principles and practices that can save them thousands of dollars, increase drought resilience and make farming fun again.”

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