Kristen Veum

It’s been said, ‘You can’t manage what you can’t measure.’ For strip-tillers, getting an accurate read on soil health is key to prescribing the right remedy for nutrient-deficient areas.

Building a thriving, well-rounded ecological environment starts with establishing a baseline measurement to build on. Dr. Kristen Veum, research soil scientist with the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in Columbia, Mo., has studied assessment of soil quality in agro-ecosystems, development and refinement of soil quality indicators and application of sensor technology for soil quality assessment.

On a national level, she is collaborating with the new Soil Health Institute, the NRCS Soil Health Division and other ARS scientists on measurements and standards for a nationwide soil health assessment.

“One of our goals is to make soil health assessments accessible, interpretable and easily integrated into farmers’ operations,” Veum says.

During a general session presentation at the 2017 National Strip-Tillage Conference, Veum will share ongoing research and initiatives to include ways to enhance soil microbiology and a forecast on future opportunities and obstacles to increasing soil health in conservation tillage systems.

Registration is open for the 2017 event, at $234 per person and $214 for additional farm or family members, at

There are two hotel options – both connected directly to the conference center – providing special rates for conference attendees:

  • The host Embassy Suites Omaha-La Vista Hotel & Conference Center is holding a block of rooms for the conference at a special rate of $129 per night. You can make reservations by calling (402) 331-7400. When booking, mention code “NS8” to get the special rate.
  • Reservations can also be made at the Courtyard Omaha La Vista at a special rate of $109. You can make reservations by calling (402) 339-4900. Use the code “NSTC” to get the special rate.

Preliminary plans for the event include 7 general session speakers; 12 classrooms covering a range of strip-till topics, including cover cropping, precision farming practices and equipment modifications; and 26 roundtable discussions.

Stay tuned for more conference updates by visiting, and we’ll see you in Omaha!