Pennsylvania farmer and cover-crop expert Steve Groff of Cover Crop Solutions, and Farm Journal field agronomist Ken Ferrie will speak at a conference aimed at providing farmers with a forum to learn about successful cover-crop practices.

The conference will be held at the Decatur Conference Center and Hotel in Decatur, Ill., December 7-8, 2011.

Cover crops have increased in popularity in recent years as farmers have discovered they provide multiple benefits for agriculture and the environment, including: reducing soil compaction and soil erosion, improving water infiltration and water quality, improving nitrogen cycling and increasing available moisture.

The goal of the conference is to get farmers together to learn how to effectively manage cover crops in a way that enhances soil quality, keeps nutrients in the fields and increases the bottom line.

Speakers will include farmers, crop consultants and university researchers who have extensive experience in cover-crop management.

"Interest in cover crops is growing among all farmers — large and small, no-?till and conventional till, as well as organic," says Dan Towery of Ag Conservation Solutions, a member of the Soil and Water Conservation Society board of directors.

"This year farmers are seeing the benefits of higher yields as a result of using cover crops. Farmers should come and find out how they can incorporate cover crops into next year's management plans."

A complete agenda and registration information is available on the conference web site at

The Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization founded in 1943 and headquartered in Ankeny, Iowa. SWCS has more than 4,500 members and 65 local chapters throughout the U.S. and Canada.