Photo taken by the awesome Chris Ferguson
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." I think that this has been particularly relevant to me these past two weeks.
It is a challenge to condense what I’ve learned so far into a blog post because in the past 2 weeks, I have learned such a large amount from all the different disciplines and continue to learn something new everyday.
One of the highlights from this week was when we had the opportunity to visit a farm where best management practices (BMPs) are used and learned about why they do the things that they do. The BMPs keep the soil healthier, and this can be done by managing crop residues to help improve soil tilth (the ability for the soil to be able to support root growth), rotating crops to keep organic matter at appropriate levels, and even have the cows graze in a rotation to benefit the plants, decrease erosion and runoff, and even help with the cows’ health. Being able to see the things I’ve been reading about up close (even smelling the soil) has been the most beneficial way in helping me grasp a better understanding of farming practices.
Having conversations, but more importantly listening, to someone who knows the topic better than I do, whether that has been our advisers, the farmers, or the people who live here, has been another way that I have learned so much. Reading has been a great way to gather the information, but actually being involved and talking to people with first hand experiences has proven to be far more valuable to me.
I was also SUPER excited when I got the chance to drive the tractor! This got me thinking about another important lesson I continue to re-learn: take advantage of the opportunities that are given and make the most out of them. As cliché as it is, I think it is an important thing to remember and re-learn all the time. It goes back to the idea that being involved is one of the the best ways to learn.
I have been enjoying my time here in Menomonie so far and look forward to the research that is going to be going on in the weeks to come!