CTIC To Host Midwest Cover Crop Summit

Producers and ag advisers interested in learning the finer points of using cover crops in a farming operation can see them used first hand during the Conservation Technology Information Center’s (CTIC) Cover Crop Summit November 20-21 in the Fort Wayne, IN, area.

Summit discussion topics will include practical ways to incorporate cover crops into an operation, cover crop planting methods and more. Tour stops will feature grain farmers and animal producers who have successfully incorporated cover crops into their unique systems through innovation. Travel scholarships to attend the event are available.

The tour stops include:

  • Allen Dean Farm, Bryan, OH.
  • Whiteshire Hamroc Farms, Albion, IN.
  • Jamie Scott Farm, Pierceton, IN.
  • Mike Werling Farm, Decatur, IN.

At each operation, producers will share details on their experiences with cover crops, including how they began, their current management techniques and benefits they have found on their farms. Other experts on cover crops, such as university researchers, also will be available to answer questions.

Chad Watts, CTIC project director, said that an important aspect of the event is the chance to talk with producers who are currently using cover crops.

“The farmers will have an opportunity to relate their own experiences on their own farms and share practical, useful knowledge based on real experience,” Watts said.

The tour will begin at 8 a.m. on November 20 when a bus leaves Don Hall’s Guesthouse in Fort Wayne, IN, for the first of three farms in the Fort Wayne area. During the stop at the Allen Dean Farm, participants will learn about how Dean uses mixes to accomplish specific goals, his planting strategy and the equipment he uses to plant cover crops into standing crops.

At Whiteshire Hamroc Farms, farm owner Al Osterlund will demonstrate the best techniques for incorporating manure into a cover crop operation. The day will wrap up at the Jamie Scott Farm, where participants will see 60 different cover crop plantings, which include a wide variety of single species plots and mixes.

The summit will conclude on November 21 at the Mike Werling Farm with a focus on soil health. Participants will see a comprehensive conservation system that incorporates cover crops and other conservation practices.

The cover crop summit is part of CTIC’s Great Lakes Cover Crop Initiative (GLCCI), which is funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative from the EPA. Through GLCCI, producers in the Great Lakes Basin planted 27,454 acres of cover crops and helped reduce the amount of nutrients making its way into the lakes.

Watts, who also serves as coordinator of GLCCI, emphasized the importance of networking with other producers who use cover crops on their farms.

“The summit is all about idea sharing and learning from others who have faced challenges and have made adaptations in their operations to successfully use cover crops on their farm,” Watts said. “If you are considering using cover crops and have questions, join us at the summit to meet and talk with farmers who have incorporated cover crops into their unique operations and other experts who will share research and other practical experience.”

Registration is required for the event. Michigan participants have the option to ride a bus from Mount Pleasant, MI, to Fort Wayne on November 19. The bus also will stop at the Michigan State Agronomy Farm. A social at the hotel on the evening of November 19 also will be held.

Producers, ag advisers and state employees interested in participating in the summit can apply for a travel scholarship to cover transportation, lodging and meals. The scholarship will be a reimbursement paid after the meeting.

For participants traveling by bus from Michigan, $250 is available and will cover two hotel nights and meals and incidental expenses not already covered by the event. For participants traveling on their own, $400 is available and will cover two hotel nights, travel expenses for going to Fort Wayne and meals and incidental expenses not already included during the event.

Applicants will be notified by November 15 as to their scholarship status.

A room block under group code 1120 is available at Don Hall’s Guesthouse, 1313 W. Washington Center Rd., Fort Wayne. Participants should make their own room reservations, even if applying for a travel scholarship.

A sneak preview, the summit schedule, registration, hotel information and travel scholarship information can be found at www.ctic.org/CoverCropSummit.

Source: CTIC news release

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