HARRISBURG, Pa. – Calling all no-till, cover crop and soil health advocates! The Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance will host two Summer Field Days – Wednesday, July 21 at Roger Rohrer Farm, 22 Girvin Road, Strasburg (Lancaster County) and Friday, July 23 at Thiele Dairy Farm, 753 N. Pike Road, Cabot (Butler County). Hosting these events on both sides of the state allows for further adaptability to particular no-till and soil health experiences.
The Alliance has planned a full day of activities – beginning at 8 a.m. – which include educational presentations, a cover crop plot walk, and panel discussions with no-till farmers. All are invited to attend!
The events will feature Rick Bieber as keynote speaker. Rick Bieber from northcentral South Dakota has seen soils, what he calls the “skin of the earth,” in 20 countries on five continents and applied what he has learned to his 5000 acres of cropland. He has distilled this knowledge down to his “Five Soil Health Principles” which have cut inputs and increased yields over his over 30 years of continuous no-till and over 20 years of diverse cover cropping.
It is particularly interesting that he successfully implements these practices in an area with a 135-140 day growing season and only 16 inches annual average rainfall, challenging the thought of some who do not believe these practices are viable under such conditions. His main crops are hard red spring wheat, hard red winter wheat, corn, flax, peas, soybeans, safflower and alfalfa. He is a firm believer in a diverse rotation, mixed species cover crops and the role of ruminant animals as a tool in overall farm management.
Included in the field days will be a variety of breakout sessions and demonstrations such as:
- Harvesting Cover Crops for Forage
- A Whole Farm Approach to Water Quality: The Role of CRP and Buffers
- What’s Next for Soil Health?
- Vertical Tillage: Does it Have a Role in Soil Health?
- Riparian & Warm Season Grass Buffers
- Equipment Display
- Rainfall Simulator
- Cover Crop Plots
Also, on Tuesday, July 20 and Thursday, July 22 consider joining the Alliance for the “Meeting of the Minds” dinner/discussion which begins at 6 p.m. The focus will be No-Till & Cover Crops = Improved Soil Health, Water Quality and Carbon Capture. The event offers the opportunity to converse with other dedicated farmers and industry professionals. Come out and join the conversation!
If pre-registered by July 16, the Meeting of the Minds dinner and the Field Days are FREE. Pre-register via email (email@example.com), calling 717-574-4510, or mailing the registration form. If not pre-registered, the cost to attend each event is $10, collected at the event. More event information is available at www.panotill.org.
–Kelly J. Caldwell, PA No-Till Alliance