Field Day on Soil Health Tests and WSARE Trial of Cover Cropping and Johnson-Su Inoculations

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Pata Viva Farm in Las Cruces

Join us on Sunday, October 9 from 2:00 pm – 6:00 pm MDT at Pata Viva Farm in Las Cruces!

At this free field day,

  • learn about a Western SARE field trial of cover cropping and Johnson-Su inoculations at Pata Viva Farm,
  • explore the impacts of microbes on plant and soil health with Dr. David Johnson and Hui-Chun Su-Johnson, and
  • practice how to do simple field tests of soil health, including water infiltration, soil surface and subsurface observations, and earthworm counts.

Afterwards, enjoy good food and networking at a grant-funded dinner.


Wear closed toed shoes, work clothes, a hat and sun protection.


Please bring your refillable water bottle.


Pata Viva is a small farm located just north of Las Cruces, New Mexico. It is owned and operated by Bryce and Shelly Richard.  We provide local fruits, vegetables and eggs to our community on Saturdays at the downtown farmers market. Our booth is set up across from the museum of art. We strive to grow our produce as holistically as possible, and are committed to sustainable agriculture outreach and education. To learn more about our sustainable agriculture project please go to


Dr. David Johnson has been doing breakthrough work in regards to the efficacy of biologically diverse, fungal-dominated compost for carbon sequestration and improved soil health and crop yields. His method is called BEAM (Biologically Enhanced Agricultural Management). The composting system he devised with his wife Hui-Chun Su is called the Johnson-Su Bioreactor.

Compost is often erroneously thought of as fertilizer, a way of adding nutrients to the soil. BEAM compost actually addresses soil health through soil biology. It replaces soil microbes in soil that has been degraded and is lacking in soil life. Adding BEAM compost inoculants and following the soil health principles –using for example no-till or low-till practices, cover crops and other regenerative agriculture practices– revives the mutually beneficial symbiosis between soil microbes and plant roots. Quite quickly, the soil starts to recover, and striking improvements in crop yields and carbon sequestration occur.

David’s research in soil microbial community structure and function, has opened a window for viewing the interdependence between plants and soil microbes. Rebuilding a soil’s microbial community, population, structure, diversity and biological functionality will also provide a robust and practical mechanism to begin reducing atmospheric CO 2 within a regenerative agricultural system.

Hui-Chun and Dr. David Johnson with bioreactor. Image by Regeneration International.

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