BUTLER, Pa. — NRCS along with the Allegheny County Conservation District will be hosting a Western Pa. Regional soil health workshop on March 17 at the Atrium banquet facility, 1031 New Castle Road, Prospect.
This event will feature Jay Fuhrer, District Conservationist from Bismarck North Dakota, one of the leaders in the soil health movement. Fuhrer will speak on building a local team and how having a core group of like-minded individuals focused on soil health and cover cropping can promote a successful environment. He will also speak on integrating livestock back into cropland, a practice that is key to improving your soil’s health.
In his talk, “Building Soil health,” Fuhrer will expound on his years of experience from the Dakota’s working with some of the farmers who established the soil health movement along with key components of healthy soil.
Jim Hoorman, an Ohio State extension agent who recently began working with NRCS, will speak on E.C.O. Farming for the Future. This method of farming includes eternal no-till, continuous living cover crops and other best management practices. This talk will focus on improving the soil biology and its role in enhancing plant nutrition. By focusing on improving your soil you can reduce external inputs and protect your operation from environmental swings allowing you to be more profitable year after year.
Hoorman will also speak on cover crop selection and nutrient cycling. This talk will focus on the timing of adding covers, how to maximize nitrogen use and improving your soil’s water holding ability. Without the use of covers in your operation you’re leaving money in the field and this talk will focus on easy and cheap methods to capture and hold those nutrients for the long term.
The local speaker will be Lucas Criswell, a farmer from Lewisburg who’s been planting green for several years now. Planting green is a new method of no-till where the next crop is planted into a living cover and terminated after the fact allowing for longer growth and improved weed and slug control. Research has shown cover crop biomass increases exponentially in the spring along with increased nitrogen fixation for legumes.
The additional two to three weeks of growth can have radical improvements in soil and crop production. The event will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and feature a buffet style lunch. To register or for more information contact Dannielle Sheppard at the Allegheny County Conservation District at 412-241-7645 or visit ACCDPA.org; the cost is $10 and includes lunch.
— USDA NRCS