Western farmers are invited to attend a Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health live broadcast Feb. 18 discussing ways to improve soil health, yields, curb erosion, manage pests and build resilience into their management systems.
Discussions on local cover crop issues will be featured during the broadcast, which will include a panel with expert farmers on the issue.
"This will be a great opportunity for farmers interested in cover crops and soil health to meet up with like-minded individuals from their local area to discuss both local and national issues related to cover crops," says Rob Myers, conference chair and regional director of Extension programs at then North Central Region SARE.
"We hope that farmers will come prepared with questions and ideas that they can feed back to USDA about programs and assistance needed for cover crops and soil health."
North Central SARE funded a national survey of producers who have grown cover cross, and found that during the 2012 drought year, corn and soybean fields that had been cover cropped yielded 9.6% to 14.3% better than fields that had not been cover cropped.
With an estimated 1.5-2 million acres in cover crops in 2012, the practice is increasingly recognized as key to sustainability, productivity and profitability.
To find out how to tune into this session, go to www.SARE.org/covercropconference, which provides a list of forum locations at more than 200 Natural Resources Conservation Service and Cooperative Extension offices nationally, funded by SARE and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.
Producers are urged to sign up for the program to ensure adequate seating will be available. Live streaming form the national conference begins at 9 a.m., central time, and 10 a.m. Pacific time.
Buffett and USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack are scheduled to address the session.