AMES, Iowa — Registration is now open for Practical Farmers of Iowa’s fifth annual cover crop boot camp. The event, which is free and helps farmers learn about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to cover crops, will take place Tuesday, Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny, Iowa, (1055 SW Prairie Trail Parkway).
Farmers of all experience levels are encouraged to attend. Attendees will participate in four sessions (plus lunch) – all led by farmers with diverse cover crop experiences. Sessions will explore how farmers are using cover crops to reduce nitrogen and herbicide inputs, grow their own cover crop seed and integrate livestock with cover crops.
The boot camp comes at a particularly critical time for farmers, when crop inputs are in short supply and nitrogen prices are rising. Attendees will learn how skillfully integrating cover crops into their crop plan can help build a resilient farm system that’s less reliant on inputs.
“This boot camp is a perfect way for farmers of all experience levels to learn more and get questions answered about cover crops,” says Sarah Carlson, PFI’s strategic initiatives director. “It’s also a place to make connections that will help farmers be more successful. Everyone will walk away with valuable information they can take home and put to use right away.”
Pre-registration is open until Nov. 23. To sign up, visit practicalfarmers.org/ cover-crop-boot-camp. Walk-in registration will be available the day of the event unless the venue is at capacity. A full agenda – including session details and speaker profiles – is also available at the above link.
Pre-Event Social & Keynote
Registered attendees are also invited to attend a pre-boot camp social on Monday, Nov. 29, starting at 4:30 p.m. at Uptown Garage Brewing Co. in Ankeny, Iowa (305 SW Walnut St.). The social includes a happy hour, complimentary dinner and keynote speech from Jen Simpson, an experienced ag media and marketing professional who is also part of PFI’s Cover Crop Business Accelerator project in partnership with the Iowa Soybean Association.
Jen’s interactive presentation, “Mounting a Strong Cover Crop Offense,” starts at 6:15 p.m. and will help participants find ways to engage in cover crop conversations with both interested farmers and naysayers, and how those conversations are key to converting new acres to cover crops.
PFI is holding a block of rooms at the Best Western Premier in Ankeny (2502 SE Tones Drive) until Nov. 9. Call the hotel at (515) 965-5678, or book online using the group ID T38XH8W2, to access the discounted rate. Additional information about lodging can be found at practicalfarmers.org/ cover-crop-boot-camp.
Properly worn face masks will be required for all persons attending the boot camp and pre-boot camp activities, regardless of vaccination status, except when attendees are actively eating or drinking. For more information on our COVID-19 safety precautions, please visit practicalfarmers.org/ cover-crop-boot-camp.
Certified crop advisor participants can earn one continuing education unit (CEU) for each session, for a total of 4.0 credits in the soil and water category.
The Cover Crop Boot Camp is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service, and is made possible by the support of Agribusiness Association of Iowa; Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Corn Growers Association; Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; Iowa Learning Farms; Iowa Pork Producers Association; Iowa Seed Association; Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative; Iowa Soybean Association; Iowa State University; Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Soil Health Partnership.
— Practical Farmers of Iowa