Protecting your water begins with your land

Elanco Source water collaborative

Elanco Source water collaborative

ELANCO Source Water Collaborative

The Eastern Lancaster County (ELANCO) Source Water Collaborative hosted a workshop entitled, Protecting Your Water Begins with Your Land.  The workshop invited government, the local farming community, and environmental organizations to co-mingle and learn about new findings in farming best management practices.

Although the theme of the workshop was farming best management practices, the underlying theme in each presentation was communication. Whether it was a member of a federal agency, a conservation organization or a representative of the Mennonite community, each person that spoke promoted respecting differences, seeing from all points of view and coming together to work towards a better balance of environmental conservation and profit maximization.

The event’s keynote speaker, Ray Archuleta promoted soil health in an informative way that simply made sense. Using fantastic demonstrations, he showed how conventional farming techniques strip the soil of nutrients and the ability to form aggregates and hold water. By improving the health of the soil, not only do we increase farmers’ yields, but we also prevent soil runoff and erosion, improving our water quality. Ray’s speech was so engaging that during the exhibition session, farmers crowded around him to discuss the topics further.

The workshop was an eye opener, not only for the community, who was there to learn about, or possibly criticize, the suggestions the workshop was providing, but to the educators, environmental activists, vendors and agency workers. No one in the room expected such a successful workshop and for so many different people to get along so wonderfully. It really inspired hope that we can work together on these critical issues.

If you’d like more information on soil health, you can check out some of Ray’s demonstrations on his Vimeo page at

The videos are short (about a minute for most) but really do say a lot.