On August 11 and 12, William F. Brinton, founder and president of Woods End Soil Health Laboratory in Mt. Vernon, Maine, will speak on soil biology, soil health testing and soil health management systems as part of the new Soil Health Seminar Center presentations at Empire Farm Days August 11 to 13.
Soil Health Seminar Center presentations begin at 9:30 a.m. and include two speakers and a farmer panel each day.
To progress and remain truly scientific, soil testing must take account of the underlying biological properties of the entire functioning plant-soil system, says Brinton, known for inventing the Solvita Soil Health technology, a gel that absorbs carbon dioxide as microbes in the soil produce it and changes color in proportion to the quantity.
In January 2014, in collaboration with the USDA-ARS lab in Texas, Woods End launched the new Soil Health Tool for identifying nutrient bioavailability in soil samples.
Brinton studied microbiological and agricultural sciences in Pennsylvania, Maine, England, Germany and Sweden and worked under the direction of Nobel Laureate Albert Schatz, the co-discoverer of the antibiotic streptomycin. Britton earned degrees in agronomy and soil and plant science and was awarded his doctorate in environmental science for groundbreaking research on organic acid cycles in soils and composts.
Brinton has published more than 35 scientific papers on soil, compost, methane generation and horticultural topics. His current focus is on improving soil testing to include biological along with chemical and physical test parameters.
Woods End Soil Laboratory was founded in 1975 and offered alternative soil testing for organic farmers. It has expanded to become part of a group of six USA soil labs, including Dairy One in Ithaca, NY, offering soil respiration and humus tests as part of evaluating soil health. Woods End is the longest operating compost lab in the U.S. The research there also includes biogas energy recovery and the use of recycled amendments for horticultural production.
In addition to operating the Woods End Soil Laboratory and a 15 acre research farm in Maine, Brinton is a faculty associate, specializing in compost and soil fertility, at the University of Maine, and co-manager of his 1,000 tree family owned farm in Pennsylvania.
Activities around the new Soil Health Seminar Center at the August 11-13, 2015 Empire Farm Days include cover crop field trials, the Penn State interseeder, the Cornell rain simulation sprinkler, and table top demonstrations.