On the weekend of May 30 a diverse crowd of movers and shakers will descend upon the Mississippi Delta region near Tunica, MS, for the Conversation Technology Information Center’s (CTIC) 2012 Conservation in Action Tour.
“The annual Tour promises educational field visits, technology demonstrations and opportunities to speak directly with growers about their on-farm solutions to natural resource and conservation issues,” says CTIC.
“It’s a great opportunity for retailers to learn about conservation issues and some of the challenges facing growers,” says CTIC Executive Director Karen Scanlon. “What we like to do with our tour is showcase local producers using innovative techniques and technology alongside sound conservation practices.”
After hosting past tours in both Virginia (2010) and Ohio (2011), this year the setting is the volatile Lower Mississippi River Basin, one of the largest contiguous coastal ecosystems in North America. According to the CTIC, the area also hosts the nation’s largest fishery, by weight, and its port activity rivals those worldwide. The region also reportedly generates a significant portion of the country’s energy and provides critical wildlife habitat.
“The Mississippi Delta region is a very critical, very important region for implementing conservation practices in agriculture,” says Scanlon. “There is a lot of interest in this region as the lower Mississippi River Basin is located here.”
Natural resource issues to be explored over the two-day session include soil erosion, water quality and conservation, wildlife habitat management and the area’s hypoxic zones along the Mississippi.
Dave White, USDA Chief of Natural Resources Conservation Services, will be the weekend’s featured speaker, while industry leaders such as Koch Agronomic Services, John Deere and Mosaic will showcase their respective offerings concerning conservation technologies during the Conservation Technology Expo.
“We’re hoping to spark an open dialogue between all aspects of our diverse group,” says Scanlon. “We’ll have a great mix of both public and private interests talking conservation and sharing ideas and innovations.”
Locally, CTIC partners with Delta Farmers Advocating Resource Management (Delta F.A.R.M.). Delta F.A.R.M., an association of growers and landowners who strive to implement recognized agricultural practices that will conserve, restore and enhance the Northwest Mississippi environment, recently celebrated 1 million acres enrolled in its conservation programs.
“They’ve been tremendously instrumental in putting this tour together and helping us identify topics to address on the tour, as well as finding local producers to host and speak with our group,” says Scanlon of Delta F.A.R.M.
CTIC is offering between six and seven CEU Credits for attendance, and Harrah’s Hotel and Casino in Tunica has special logging rates available for attendees.