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Identical to farms from Ohio to Nebraska – vast fields of corn & soybeans Summer : industrial-scale agriculture Winter Neighbors’ fields lie fallow – bare.

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Presentation on theme: "Identical to farms from Ohio to Nebraska – vast fields of corn & soybeans Summer : industrial-scale agriculture Winter Neighbors’ fields lie fallow – bare."— Presentation transcript:

1 Identical to farms from Ohio to Nebraska – vast fields of corn & soybeans Summer : industrial-scale agriculture Winter Neighbors’ fields lie fallow – bare & brown Brandt’s fields are green with cover crops Fall plantings with up to 14 plant species – – blanket soil in winter – protect soil from extreme weather – feed sugar to soil microbes – support biological diversity & complexity – rot in place in spring : no-till, cover crop agriculture Half Brandt’s corn & soy flourish without fertilizer, and no herbicides; Other half gets less than consultants recommend Promise of no-till, cover-crop Farming Reduce agrichemical use Regenerate soil food web biology Adapt to extreme weather & climate Keep heartland churning out food David Brandt 1,200 acre farm Carroll, central Ohio (pop. 524) Four Practices set Brandt apart from other farmers First: dedication to off-season cover crops Currently used on 1% of US farmland yearly Second: hostility to tilling Second: hostility to tilling Sold his tillage equipment in 1971 Considers tillage a disruptive practice Disassembles soil food web infrastructures Third: fondness for earthworms Fourth: adds wheat to corn-soy rotation Corn-soy favored all over Corn Belt Third crop disrupts weed & pest patterns 2012 Iowa State University study: 2012 Iowa State University study: 3rd crop cuts herbicide & agrichemical use USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Advocates Soil Stewardship Trains agents to teach farmers about cover crops Brandt’s farm is a site used to train NRCS agents National Conference on Cover Crops & Soil HealthConfronting Climate Change National Conference on Cover Crops & Soil Health Soil health is a new initiative of USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) February 18, 2014 kicks off this major effort Forum on Cover Crops and Soil Health: Harvesting the Potential webinar broadcast live from Omaha 200 free meetings and soil health demonstrations Howard Buffett IL farmer, conservationist, philanthropist Tom Vilsack USDA Secretary of Agriculture The Big Picture: Conservation, Cover Crops & Soil Health Four Midwest cash crop farmers Dan DeSutter, IN - Dave Brandt, OH Clay Mitchell, IA - Gabe Brown, ND noted for focus on soil health, cover crops conservation tillage, and farm profitability will describe benefits of their soil management Cover crop use ranges from cereal rye& ryegrass to crimson clover, hairy vetch & oilseed radishes After the webinar: local discussion groups plan Grower Discussion meetings & summer field days Info & assistance for soil health management “Try to mimic Mother Nature. Cover crops work together like a community – you have many people helping instead of one.” continuous ground cover & minimum tillage Cover Crops Under Cover Farmers 28-minute youtube video Three farmers in Stanley County, NC on how they use multi-species cover crops to realize economic returns on their investment the first year video produced in partnership by Dr. Robin 'Buz' Kloot, Earth Sciences & Resources Institute University of South Carolina USDA NRCS East National Technology Support Center


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