Number 51, from Near Zero Resources to Soil Health Hero
Mike Hubbs, TACD Soil Health Specialist
On July 1, 2014, I was hired by Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts to disseminate and train farmers and conservation partners on the subject of soil health. My second objective was to identify and publicize the accomplishments of Tennessee farmers who are improving soil health. I was not sure where this endeavor would take me, and had no particular number in mind when I began. I did know that I wanted to identify farmers through relationships with Conservation Districts and NRCS field staff. I knew that I wanted to interview them, record and share what they have accomplished, and work with them while in the field to hopefully help them to expand their knowledge and their practices that are truly changing the Tennessee landscapes. In addition, I wanted glean from them and their experiences while sharing my experiences in soil health.
This is article 51 of this series. That is much more than just numbers. The articles cover 51 people who are sharing what they are doing to improve soil health and function. The 51st Profiles of Soil Health Hero is Robert Craighead of Clay County. Robert began our meeting by sharing with me that over the years, he has changed his management strategies due to the influence of Jeff Young, NRCS District Conservationist for Jackson and Clay Counties, and Andrzej Kaslikowski, NRCS Conservation Technician for Jackson and Clay Counties. Andrzej has also been recognized as a Profile of Soil Health Hero number 36. Not only does he practice soil health on his farm, he teaches it as well. Another influence to Robert is the Clay County Soil Conservation District's Technician, with whom he happens to share the same last name as Robert, Robert's son, Matthew Craighead. Matthew has been very instrumental on the farm influencing Robert.