By Barry Bubolz, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service Area Great Lakes Restoration Initiative coordinator
Farmers and local conservation partners took a winter road trip to attend the 28th Annual National No-Tillage Conference. The three-day event, which took place in January, offered an excellent opportunity for attendees to hear about the latest technology, science and equipment related to the conservation practices of no-till and cover crops.
Demonstration Farms and PPF members included Tony Brey, Brey Cycle Farm, Derek and Duane Ducat, Deer Run Dairy, and Aaron Augustian, Augustian Farms. Partners Nathen Nysse, Jeff Polenske and Matt Brugger from Tilth Agronomy and myself also attended. It was a great chance to network with over 900 other farmers and ag professionals from across the United States.
Aaron Augustian, from Augustian Farms presented during one of the breakout sessions on the topic of “Building a More Sustainable, Profitable, No-Till Dairy Operation.” He highlighted the efforts the farm has undertaken to transition their farm to utilizing the soil health practices of no-till, cover crops and low-disturbance manure application.
Derek Ducat of Deer Run Dairy facilitated a roundtable for “Planter Set-up for John Deere owners” to share tips and advice on planter set-up for no-till and cover crops systems.
The conference allowed attendees to gather information and ask question on many different topics. Presentations ranged from “How and Why of No-Till Planting Green”, 60 Inch corn, Understanding New Soil Health Soil Tests, Regenerating Soil Microbiomes, No-Tilling Hemp, Comprehensive Approaches to Soil Health, Interseeding cover crops, Beneficial Insects, and much much more.
It was a unique, one-of-a-kind experience to hear from the best farmers, agronomists and researchers in one location. From the general sessions to “classrooms” and roundtables, there were multiple learning opportunities in a variety of formats. The event was a great way to highlight the positive actions and roles that farmers across the nation undertake to protect our soil and water resources when a soil health system is utilized.
Next year’s conference is set for Jan. 12-15, 2021 in Indianapolis, Ind. Learn more at no-tillfarmer.com.