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Southern Agricultural Cover Crops, Soil Health, and Water Management Conference to be held Oct. 28 – 29 in Jonesboro

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LITTLE ROCK – Farmers
across Arkansas and
from across the country
are invited to the Southern
Agricultural Cover Crops,
Soil Health and Water Management
Conference October
28 – 29 being held at
the Arkansas State University
Convocation Center in
Jonesboro. The conference,
co-sponsored by the USDA’s
Natural Resources Conservation
Service (NRCS) and
the Arkansas Association
of Conservation Districts
(AACD), is designed to assist
farmers learn how to
successfully adopt a cover
crop management system,
improve soil health and
water management on their
operations.
The conference provides
a forum for farmers to exchange
information, discuss
opportunities for collaboration,
and learn about new
and successful practices
related to cover crops, soil
and water management.
Case study presentations
will identify and discuss
strengths and pitfalls of real
applications.
Specific conference sessions
will include: soil management;
water management;
pest management;
growing cover crops to
graze cattle on cropland;
cover crop management
and no?till. Guest speakers
will include NRCS and
USDA Agricultural Research
Service scientists, farmers,
crop consultants, and
university researchers who
have extensive experience
with various focal points of
the conference. One of the
featured speakers for this
year’s conference will be
Gabe Brown who will make a
presentation on soil health.
Cover crops enhance soil
health, increase soil water
retention and keep nutrients
in the fields. Although cover
crops can be effective under
conventional tillage, they
also improve soil quality
and ease the transition to
continuous no?till.
“Southern farmers cannot
simply rely on the tried
and proven management
techniques that the Midwest
employs to manage
cover crops and improve
soil health,” said John Lee,
USDA NRCS state agronomist
in Arkansas. “Conditions
in the South are
different, and we need to
plan to improve soil health
according to southern agricultural
farming practices
and conditions farmers are
facing here in the south.”
The second day of the
conference will focus on
methods to improve water
management. Irrigation
water management saves
money while reducing water
use, improving water and air
quality, and saving energy.
“Irrigation water management
just makes good
dollars and sense,” said Walt
Delp, USDA NRCS State Conservation
Engineer. “Every
drop of water that does not
runoff is water that is available
for crop use and does
not have to be pumped.”
One emerging field for
conservation is selling carbon
credits on the environmental
market. Several
speakers will talk about how
to use less water for rice
production which in turn
will produce fewer greenhouse
gases.
Certified crop advisors
can earn continuing education
units for attending
training at the conference.
For more information or
to register for the Southern
Agricultural Cover Crops,
Soil Health and Water Management
Conference, contact
Debbie Moreland, AACD
program administrator, at
(501) 682-2915. Registration
packages are also available
at www.aracd.org. .