Conservation Tillage Conference is March 7-8

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Healthy soil
Healthy soil. (Farm and Dairy file photo)

ADA, Ohio — This year’s Conservation Tillage and Technology Conference will continue to focus on soil health and better no-till when it returns to Ohio Northern University in Ada March 7-8.

The conference has been held at the same location for the past 25 years, and each year draws more than 900 people who want to know more about no-till farming and good conservation practices.

The event draws farmers, crop consultants and agribusiness leaders, and offers industry-approved credits for certified crop advisers, and certified livestock managers.

This year’s keynote speaker, Paul Jasa, an ag engineer with the University of Nebraska, will present A Systems Approach to No-till and Soil Health.

Jasa will talk about the benefits of keeping no-till soils healthy, and he’ll lead a talk on correcting the effects of tillage with cover crops.

Randall Reeder, executive director of the conference, said soil health has been a big theme at conferences across the nation — and farmers are showing interest.

“It’s not something they’re backing away from,” Reeder said. “Farmers want to know more and more about it.”

Using chemicals

One thing they want to know, specifically, is how to keep healthy insects and plants alive — to improve the soil fertility and profile — while using insecticides responsibly.

Jonathan Lundgren, an entomologist who recently was employed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, will talk on March 8 about the importance of beneficial insects, such as bees, and how to keep pollinators and other favorable insects active in the fields.

Alan Sundermeier, OSU extension educator in Wood County, said farmers need to be judicial with their use of insecticides.

“We need insecticides if there’s a pest problem, but we don’t need to continue using insecticides ‘just in case’,” he said.

Soil health. Also March 8, Sundermeier will present OSU’s new soil health initiative, Healthy Soil, Healthy Environment. More about the program is available at www.soilhealth.osu.edu.

Other soil health presentations will include “corn nitrogen rates and soil nitrogen uptake measurements,” presented by Steve Culman, OSU soil fertility specialist; and the “OSU soil health assessment package,” presented by Rafiq Islam, who leads OSU’s Soil and Bioenergy Program.

The conference will also feature several farmers as speakers, including a panel discussion March 8, about transitioning to no-till. The panel will include Ohio farmers Dave Brandt, Bill Richards, Bret Margraf and Bill Lehmkuhl.

Farmer awards

The conference will also include the presentation of the Master Farmers of the Year awards, and Ohio Certified Crop Adviser awards, at the beginning of the day, March 7.

Registration is $65 per day, or $85 for both days. Registration by mail should be received before Feb. 27, and online registration is due by March 3. Late registration will incur a higher cost. To register, visit www.allenswcd.com.

To learn more about the conference, including a full schedule, visit www.fabe.osu.edu.

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