Sometimes in agriculture we are so consumed by work that needs to happen on the farm that we don’t get much of a chance to share what we’re doing or visit others to see what’s working for them. Kansas Soil Health Alliance Coordinator Jennifer Simmelink is helping to make this communication happen more frequently. Jennifer grew up surrounded by agriculture in York, Nebraska. Although she didn’t grow up on a farm, she studied Biological and Agricultural Engineering at Kansas State University. It was there that she met her husband, which led her to settling down on his family’s farm in North Central, Kansas. We asked Jennifer to wear both hats today as a farmer and the coordinator of the alliance to share her journey to spreading soil health awareness.
“We talk about the impact that water and wind erosion and things can have on your communities. Whether it’s cleaning out ditches or cleaning out contaminants in drinking water. To go out and be able to be a part of that and to help meet others where they’re at to take their step forward. It’s a complex process.”
The Kansas Soil Health Alliance is a 501c3 organization that is producer led with the mission of improving and protecting Kansas soils through farmer and rancher led education. Jennifer spends a lot of her time traveling throughout the state coordinating field days and working alongside farmers and other organizations to provide educational opportunities for both current and future farmer generations.
“I think that’s what we all want to do is we want to give the next generation better than what we had. Not easier. We’re not trying to pave things down, but can we give them a good start? We want to improve on things. So, you can tell them this is for you. This is why it should matter to you.”