Soil Health Conference & Annual Meeting

Information From Our Last Conference, Check Back For 2020 Information!


Early registrations are appreciated for planning purposes . This event is FREE to all 2019 SD Soil Health Coalition Members. The cost for non members is $25 which includes a 2019 membership with the SD Soil Health Coalition.

Please register by filling out the form included here and by calling (605) 280-4190 to relay the information or by emailing the form to Be sure to designate if you have already purchased your 2019 membership, or which payment form you would like to use on the bottom of the form.

CCA/CEU credits will be available for attendees of this event. 

Persons requiring special accommodations or materials in an alternate please contact Cindy Zenk (605) 280-4190 one week prior to the event.



January 22nd

Days Inn, 2500 6th Street Brookings, SD, 57006

6:30pm- Registration

7:00pm Welcome

7:15pm Keith Berns—”Rebuilding Our Soils”

8:15pm Meet and Greet with the Speakers, SDSHC board, and Voices for Soil Health


January 23rd

Club 71, 1396 Stadium Road, North Campus Drive, Brookings, SD

8-9:00am Registration

9:00 am Welcome

9:15am Opening by SDSHC

9:30am Allen Williams “Adaptive Stewardship: How To Use The Powers Of Observation & Intuition To Work In Synchrony With Nature”

10:30am Break

10:45am Keith Berns “Carbonomics”

11:45am Lunch—Year in Review

12:45 pm Remarks—Dean John Killefer, CAFES, South Dakota State University

1:00pm Dwayne Beck “Making Management Decisions At The Ecosystem Level: Stopping The Bleeding”

2:00pm Break

2:15pm Producer Panel—Jesse Hall, Stehly Farms—Craig and Gene, and Kurt Stiefvater

3:30 Annual Meeting

*CCA/CEU Credits Available To Attendees

Club 71, 1396 Stadium Road, North Campus Drive, Brookings, SD


The main conference event on January 23rd, 2019 will be held at Club 71, 1396 Stadium Road, North Campus Drive, Brookings, SD, which is within the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium. Included below is a map which shows the venue location as well as the parking lot attendees are encouraged to use, directly west of the venue.




A block of double queen rooms has been reserved at the Days Inn, 2500 East 6th St., Brookings, SD, January 22nd-23rd for conference attendees and their guests. Call for reservations prior to Tuesday, January 1st, 2019 to take advantage of this block. The speaker session the evening of January 22nd will be held here.


Additional Information:

– Guests may begin calling any time to make reservations

– Call the hotel directly at 605.692.9471 

– Request a room from the “SD Soil Health Coalition” block

– The cost for rooms will be at a rate of $85/room/night + taxes.  Rates and availability are not guaranteed after the above listed cut-off date.

**Rate does NOT include entrance into the Water Park.  Reduced rates are available for all hotel guests as follows:  no charge for 0-3 years of age, $5 for ages 4 and up.

**ALL individuals entering the Water Park do need to have wristbands, even if individuals are just observing

– Special requests – staff will make every effort to accommodate guests’ requests to the best of their ability and the situation at hand.  Property does not have elevators, therefore, guests with mobility issues are encouraged to request 1st floor.  Again, staff will do their best to accommodate requests, but do understand that requests cannot be guaranteed 100%.

– Check in time is anytime after 3pm. 

– Check out time is anytime prior to 11am.

– Complimentary continental breakfast is available to all overnight guests from 6:30am – 10am, and is located in the breakfast room just off the hotel lobby.

The South Dakota Soil Health Coalition is extremely pleased to announce the three speakers who will be showcased at the 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference, January 22-23, on the campus of South Dakota State University (SDSU). Keith Berns of Green Cover Seed will speak both the evening of the 22nd as well during the main event the next day. Additional speakers include Allen Williams, Livestock Management and Agricultural Consultant, and Dwayne Beck, Research Manager at Dakota Lakes Research Farm. All three of these speakers are extremely well known for their many contributions to the soil health movement both in South Dakota and surrounding regions.


Keith Berns hails from Bladen, NE and has been utilizing no-till on the ground he and his brother farm since the late 1980’s, has integrated cover crops onto the operation since 2008, earned a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Education from The University of Nebraska, taught Agriculture and Computer courses for 10 years, and co-founded Green Cover Seed in 2009 “to share the benefits of cover crops and no-till farming with the community.” Over the years his company has grown to supply producers with a wide variety of cover crop seed options, educational resources, as well as to develop their “SmartMix Calculator” which enables the user to create their own custom cover crop mixes weighing the strengths and weaknesses of each variety included. Keith was honored by the White House when he was named a “2016 Champion of Change for Sustainable and Climate-Smart Agriculture” and is listed as one of the National Association of Conservation Districts (NACD) “Soil Health Champions”.


Allen Williams is a sixth-generation farmer whose family has been farming in South Carolina since 1840. Allen has experience raising cattle, hogs, chickens, and sheep, as well as the management of both row crops and orchards. He holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Animal Science with a minor in Poultry Science from Clemson University, earned a PHD in Animal Genetics and Physiology from Louisiana State University, spent 15 years teaching and performing research, and currently operates his own Livestock Management and Consulting business. His business’s concentrations include:  pastured protein, soil health, adaptive management and regenerative agriculture and he has worked with ranchers and row crop producers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and South America. As a partner in “Soil Health Consultants, LLC” along with other prominent experts such as Ray Archuleta, David Brandt and Gabe Brown many of Allen’s future projects are related to the expansion of educational events and services provided by the Consultants.



Dwayne Beck, Research Manager at Dakota Lakes Research Farm in Pierre, SD and Professor in the Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science Department at SDSU is well known for the extensive list of research he has performed there from 1990 through present day. He holds a bachelor’s in chemistry from Northern State University and a PHD in Agronomy (Soil Fertility) from South Dakota State University. He also held the position of Research Manager at SDSU’s James Valley Research Center from 1983-1990 before assuming his current position. Dwayne’s research centers around “the development of programs that have allowed producers to adopt true continuous no-till techniques with diverse rotations in a large portion of central South Dakota and throughout the grassland ecosystems of North America.”

Members of the Media,

The South Dakota Soil Health Coalition would like to invite you or a member of your staff to attend our 2019 Soil Health Conference. As a member of the media for an outlet or organization which distributes information and news about agriculture, soil health, the environment, or conservation we believe your viewers and readers would be especially interested in the information provided at this year’s event. A dedicated media room will be provided as a space to conduct interviews and gather content from event keynote speakers, panelists, and attendees.

This year’s main event will be held on January 23, 2019 at Club 71, 1396 Stadium Road, North Campus Drive, on the campus of South Dakota State University, in Brookings SD. Keynote speakers for the Soil Health Conference will be Allen Williams of Soil Health Consultants, LLC, Keith Berns of Green Cover Seed, and Dr. Dwayne Beck, Research Manager at Dakota Lakes Research Farm. Full biographies for each of these speakers, a full agenda for the event, including preview session the evening before, and registration forms are included in the attached packet.

Although you are encouraged to become a member of the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition if you are interested, admission to the Soil Health Conference is free of charge for members of the media  attending to cover the speakers or interview attendees. Please return the enclosed registration form, designating you are a member of the media and which outlet you represent, and you will be provided with additional information. Last year over 450 individuals from across the state and region attended this conference representing a combination of agricultural producers, environmentalists, industry, government personnel, students, and interested landowners. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions you may have.

On Behalf of The SD Soil Health Coalition,

Sarah Fitzgerald Communications Coordinator

(605) 368-4091

Dear Agri-Business Leader,

The South Dakota Soil Health Coalition (SDSHC) invites you to be a part of our upcoming 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference, which will include sessions and activities January 22nd-23rd.

The SDSHC’s Annual Meeting and Conference will be held at Club 71 on the campus of South Dakota State University, in Brookings South Dakota. Wednesday January 23rd will feature an Exhibitor’s/Sponsorship opportunity, and we hope that you will participate. Attendance at last year’s convention brought 450 persons representing a combination of agricultural producers, environmentalists, industry, government personnel, students, and land owners.

The SDSHC proudly announces keynote speakers Dwayne Beck, Allen Williams and Keith Berns for this event. The conference will also provide an evening session by Keith Berns on Tuesday the 22nd of January at the Days Inn in Brookings. Tuesday will not only highlight Keith Berns but will also offer an opportunity for attendees to meet the other speakers, SDSHC board members, and network with other producers interested in soil health from across the region. A South Dakota Soil Health Conference block of rooms is available at the Days Inn.

Each Exhibitor booth will receive one registration for the conference. Additional booth personnel are welcome and can register online or the day of the conference. Each exhibit booth will be provided a table and chair. Please note on the included exhibitor form if additional tables, chairs or an electrical hook up is needed. Booths may be set up at Club 71 from 4:00- 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 22nd or by 8:00 am on January 23rd.

Soil, the foundation of life continues to be our driving force…..promoting the necessity to improve soil health. We thank you for your support. If you have any questions or if I can be of assistance, please contact me at or 605-280-4190.


Best Regards,

Cindy Zenk, Coordinator SD Soil Health Coalition