OSCEOLA COUNTY\u00a0\u2014\u00a0While many farmers today can utilize a number of fertilizers and pesticides to help with their crop\u2019s growth, programs of the Osceola-Lake Conservation District are showing people that the if the soil is healthy, those kinds of methods are not needed. \u201cOur hope is that we can get to show producers how to maintain the soil and help farm in a way that keeps it healthy,\u201d said Greg White, district conservationist for USDA \u2013 NRCS. \u201cIf we get a couple of farms doing it and they see the benefit of it, hopefully the farmers will want to continue on their own.\u201d The Osceola County Soil Health Summer Series is a six-part series that aims to demonstrate ways cover crops \u2014 which are planted to prevent issues such as soil erosion and maintain soil quality \u2014 can improve farm soils and increase productivity. Though three meetings in the series already have occurred, White said the messages at each meeting are essentially the same. Each class emphasizes factors of soil health, which is the continued capacity of soil to function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans, White said. This is the first year the department is holding a six-part series on the topic. Registration to attend the classes is not required, and attendees are not required to attend all classes in the series. The classes consist of informal presentations that discuss what is happening on each farm the series spotlights. \u201cWe\u2019re targeting all types of production,\u201d White said. \u201cThere are so many operations that take place, from corn production to beef production. We are trying to target everyone.\u201d The next class will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 23, at Thornton\u2019s, 11315 E. 64th St. in Reed City. The class will go over cover crops interseeding in grain crops. Ice cream sundaes will be served. The first class in October will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9. at Michele and Chad Nicklas\u2019 farm at 16134 Schofield Road in Hersey. The class will discuss cover crop mixes used for extending the fall grazing season of beef cattle and the aerial seeding of cover crops into standing grain crops. Cider and doughnuts will be served. The final class will take place from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at Norman\u2019s Vegetable Farm at 22735 20 Mile Road in Tustin. The class will discuss using cover crops as a living mulch in mixed vegetable production. Cider and doughnuts will be served. \u201cWe want to improve the health of the soil,\u201d White said. \u201cI don\u2019t believe that our soil is at an optimal healthy level. Healthy soil can grow crops without tremendous amounts of input \u2013 things like fertilizer, pesticides and fuel for tillage. We can reduce the use of all of these by keeping the soil healthy.\u201d For more information about any of the three remaining classes, contact the Osceola-Lake Conservation District at (231) 832 \u2013 2950.