Wills Soil & Stream
Ecological land management and farm consulting to build soil health for optimum production
With degrees in agriculture and environmental science, Brent has spent the past 25 years working in both the public and private sectors providing technical assistance, guidance, networking and hands-on training for all types of land management.
Simple put-and-take agronomy has proven not to be the best management tool for farmers and land managers over the long run, mainly on account of the lack of total understanding of the biological functions that our plants rely upon to thrive and survive. By focusing on the relationships between the chemical, physical and biological components in our soils we can start to build health and resilience into our growing systems and reduce the need for costly and often damaging interventions. Whether you are growing hundreds of acres of corn, beans or small grains or just a few acres of hay, grapes or turf grass, with a better knowledge of the natural systems your plants rely on–and solid field data to back it up–you can begin to make positive changes in your management and truly reap the rewards of what you sow!
The blessing of rains in the spring is a welcome reminder of what our plants need to feed us and our animals. However, as rainfall events become stronger and more intense (and historically they are) the potential for on-site and downstream damage is greater now more than ever. Torrential summer rains and even the occasional winter storm have the ability to wreak more havoc than ever before. All land managers deal with run-on and runoff so it is critical for them to understand regulatory and policy requirements, potential ways to infiltrate more rainfall and surface measures to reduce damage. Home builders, developers, municipal managers and farmers alike all need the foundation of knowledge and practical skills that are all part of a successful overall plan to control and minimize damage due to heavy rainfall events.
No matter what our land management arena is, we are all participants in a well-adapted choreography of players in our local ecosystems. But any natural system can easily get out of balance, especially when we try to push the envelope for higher yields, more tons, bigger developments…more profit. That balance is key to a well-functioning ecosystem, understanding that we humans are also only a part of that ecosystem we call nature. To mimic the natural processes of birth, death, growth and decomposition and to allow those processes to do what they naturally do is to truly understand the meaning of an ecosystem. Even in a heavily altered landscape–a crop field or city park for instance–if we begin to work toward a more functional ecosystem and understand how all the players fit in their niche we will begin to build health and wellbeing into our communities and enhance our relationship with the earth.