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Interested in reducing operating costs on your farm, improving production, and doing your part to restore the Chesapeake Bay and your local watershed?
Whether you are a grain farmer or livestock producer, improving your soil health can help achieve all three. Please join us as we learn from our speakers how to keep water and nutrients on our farms to benefit our bottom lines, increase yields, and improve water quality locally and in the Chesapeake Bay.
A soil health meeting for farmers and landowners will be held Thursday, March 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Pine Barn Inn, Danville. The meeting is being hosted by the Columbia, Montour, Northumberland, and Clinton County Conservation Districts and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
Kris Ribble, NRCS Supervisory District Conservationists said “Our team is passionate about providing outreach and education to encourage adoption and maintenance of long term no-till/cover systems with diverse rotations. By adding multi-species covers and applying the soil health principles to all cropping systems on the cropland in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, there is potential to address many of the most challenging resource issues facing the general public and agriculture today.”
“This is our third annual event and we are fortunate to have as our keynote speaker, Keith Berns, a nationally known soil health farmer and co-owner of Green Cover Seed, one of the major cover crop seed providers in the United States.” said Ribble. Berns combines 20 years of no-till farming with 10 years of teaching Agriculture and Computers. He no-tills 2,500 acres of irrigated and dryland corn, soybeans, rye, triticale, peas, sunflowers, and buckwheat in South Central Nebraska. His company, Green Cover Seed, also provides quality education programs to promote the many benefits of planting cover crops and improving soil health.
Other event speakers include Russ Wilson, who operates Wilson Land & Cattle Co, a 220-acre farm in Forest County, south of Tionesta, PA. He and his family raise cattle, sheep, goats, poultry and honey bees as well custom grazing for other producers. They employ adaptive management techniques to make the farm more profitable. As part of his adaptive grazing management Russ incorporates Cool Season & Native Warm Season Grasses along with both warm and cool season multi-species cover crop mixes to allow him to graze as much of the year as possible. Russ purchases what little hay he feeds and is truly a low cost producer. Even if you are not currently a livestock producer you will enjoy Russ’s talks and hopefully learn how important livestock grazing on cropland can be to improving overall soil health on the farm. Wilson enjoys sharing his unique management strategies with other farmers and ranchers with a hope to make them more sustainable.
We will also have some Penn State University staff on hand to give a brief overview of their experiences and research results from using the Inter-seeder to inter-seed cover crops into standing grain crops as a means to get covers established earlier in the year.
According to Lisa Blazure, Clinton County Conservation District, improving soil health is beneficial for the farmers and the environment. “Healthy soils hold more nutrients and require less fertilizer, thereby reducing costs to the farmer. They also hold and infiltrate more water, which helps during periods of drought. Runoff of water, soil, and nutrients is significantly lower from farm fields that have healthy soils. This results in cleaner local waters and ultimately helps to meet the Chesapeake Bay goals. Improving soil health is a win-win for everyone.”
There is a $25 registration fee that includes refreshments, lunch, and conference materials.
For more information or to register for the Danville meeting, please contact Tracey Oman at the Columbia County Conservation District at 570-784-1310 extension 102 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Registrations after March 3, 2017 will be $30 per person. Vendors are welcome, contact Tracey Oman to inquire about opportunities for vendors. If you have not been to this conference before and are thinking about coming, check out the speakers from the past two years at the Columbia County Conservation Districts website http://www.columbiaccd.org/soil-health-conference.html under the soil health tab.