Conference Focuses on Building Soil Health

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ADA, Ohio – Building and maintaining healthy soils not only leads to profitable farming and improved water quality by keeping more pollutants out of streams and waterways, it can also factor into determining farmland value.

That’s a key theme that will be emphasized during the annual Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference, held March 2-3 at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada, said Randall Reeder, a retired Ohio State University Extension agricultural engineer.

From offering a workshop on the “Importance of Building Soil Health for All Farmers,” and a panel discussion on the “Policy, Principles and Practices for the Future of Conservation Agriculture and Soil Health,” a goal of the event, Reeder said, is to “emphasize that every farmer needs to work on building their soil quality, and building organic matter is one way to achieve optimum soil health.”

Barry Fisher, soil health specialist and central regional soil health team leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, will present the soil health workshop at 9:30 a.m. on March 2.

Speakers for the 11 a.m. panel discussion that day include:

  • Jim Moseley, former Deputy Secretary of Agriculture.
  • Mark A. Rose, USDA-NRCS, director of the Financial Assistance Programs Division.
  • Bill Richards, former chief, NRCS, and a no-till farmer.

“We’ll discuss how to find creative ways as to what can be done to improve the mindset of farmers and landowners to see the value of long-term soil health improvements from using no-till and cover crops,” Reeder said. “This will mean more crop rotations, continuous no-till and using cover crops to provide living roots and protection from erosion year-round.

“Agriculture has to get serious about preventing nutrients and other pollutants from getting off of their lands into streams. The panel discussion will look at ways to encourage farmers and landowners to emphasize building long-term soil health. By building the soil, it will keep most of the pollutants out of streams and waterways.”

Reeder is an organizer of this year’s CTC in conjunction with OSU Extension, the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Northwest Ohio.

OSU Extension and OARDC are the outreach and research arms of The Ohio State University’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

CTC offers the latest research, insight, tips and techniques on precision fertility, cover crops and manure, water management, technology and equipment, nutrient management, and advanced cover crops. It features some 60 presenters, including 25 CFAES researchers and Extension educators, as well as farmers and industry representatives.

The event will feature several concurrent sessions during the conference. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Corn Yield Forecasting.
  • New Molecular Methods for Insect Control.
  • Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium Management Highlights for Corn.
  • Taking a Second Look at Hybrid Performance and Technology.
  • Crop-Effective and Environment-Responsible Nutrient Placement in Strip-Till and No-Till Corn.
  • Ohio Soybean Limitation Survey Results.
  • Managing Weeds in Soybeans.
  • Fertility Management.
  • Managing Soybean Insects.
  • The Future of Soybean Breeding.
  • Top 10 Ways to Improve Yield, Without Breaking the Bank.    
  • Understanding the Legal Aspects of Manure Application.
  • On-Farm Experiences with Cover Crops and Manure.
  • Enhancing Soil Mycorrhizal Fungi to Retain Nutrients.
  • Improving Soil Carbon for Healthier Soils.
  • Sustainable Agriculture Programs from Campbell Soup Company.

The CTC conference will be held at the McIntosh Center of Ohio Northern University in Ada. Full schedule and registration information can be found at Walk-in registration is $80 for one day or $105 for both days. 

Information is also available from county offices of OSU Extension.

Other conference sponsors include the Ohio Corn Marketing Program, Ohio Soybean Council, Farm Science Review, John Deere, Ag Credit, Seed Consultants and the Ohio No-Till Council. 

Tracy Turner
For more information, contact: 

Randall Reeder