In this free webinar, NRCS West Regional Soil Health Team Leader Jennifer Moore-Kucera explains how living organisms in your farm soils can help improve crop production. viewers can learn how soil organisms are involved with all aspects of how soils function, management practices that protect soil organisms’ habitat and more!
Dr. Linda Prokopy and Belyna Bentlage of Purdue University described sustainablilty in agriculture in their guest blog post as “an urgent and recognized need”. Click the link below to read the rest of the blog.
Facebook Live Video Feed
As of this year, CCSI has began testing live video feed at events. The goal of using Facebook Live is so people who are unable to attend these events or live too far away can still receive information and interact with the speaker through live video feed.
A Cover Crop Explosion
From 2011 to 2015, the adoption of cover crops in Indiana grew from just under 200,000 acres to over 1.1 million acres. Around 11% of Indiana’s crop land was planted to cover crops for the 2016 season (cover crops seeded in fall 2015 for the 2016 cropping season).
Still, much is left to be learned about this important soil health practice.
During the winter and spring of 2016, specialists at Purdue University and the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA-NRCS) received numerous reports that roots were clogging tile drains. Other agricultural advisers were hearing similar stories and many were posting and reading about these reports online.
The issue is not common. There are many long-term no-tillers who use cover crops that do not have plugged tile. Farmers who are experiencing this are not seeing it in every tile, so it appears to be site-specific and tied to other factors besides simply no-till with cover crops.
Although not the problem of 2015, some areas have experienced extreme weather resulting in prevented planting. As with last year, these acres should be managed in ways to prevent soil degradation and increase soil productivity for next year.
Know someone who is uber-organized and passionate about soil health? How about someone with with excellent written, visual, and audio skills?
CCSI is looking for a pair of individuals to join our team! Use the link above to learn more!
With Indiana farmers looking for ways to improve soil health and water quality in their communities, Indiana’s On-Farm Network is gearing up for 2015 with a new look, new name and new partners. On-Farm Network, a program first developed by the Iowa Soybean Association, debuted in Indiana in 2010. After finding success in several Indiana counties, local ag industry partners adapted the program for Indiana farmers. In early 2015, the program was renamed INfield Advantage, referencing advantages for farmers who are interested in optimizing their inputs and validating their infield management practices.
Indiana Corn Marketing Council, Indiana Soybean Alliance, Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts, Purdue Extension and the Indiana Conservation Partnership will continue to provide support for this newly renamed program.
A Different Kind Of “Healthcare” Taking Root On Indiana Farms
By Jane Hardisty, State Conservationist
Thursday, October 31, 2013
There’s a potentially game-changing movement coming from America’s heartland. It has broad implications regarding the vitality of our farms, the health of our planet and our ability to feed more than 9 billion people who will be coming to dinner by the year 2050.
This movement continues to grow thanks to a different kind of “healthcare”—the health and care of our precious soil. Previously, most of us have looked at soil in terms of its “quality.” But as one farmer observed recently, “Anything can have quality, but only living things can have health.”
So while it might seem like a trivial word-choice important only to those that work in the marketing department, the focus on “soil health” verses “soil quality” reflects a fundamental shift in the way we think about and are caring for our nation’s soil.
Talk to any farmer working to improve the health of the soil and he or she will likely tell you that the “ah-ha” moment came when they realized that soil isn’t just an inactive growing medium. In fact, the soil is alive and teaming with trillions of microorganisms and fungi that are the foundation of an elegant, symbiotic ecosystem.
This new reality has quietly brought about an agricultural revolution as more and more farmers in Indiana and throughout the nation are harvesting a wide range of benefits—on and off the farm—by improving soil health. From every angle—business, production, sustainability, and environmental—managing for soil health makes sense!
USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) recently launched a new education campaign titled “Unlock the Secrets in the Soil” to help more farmers discover the basics and benefits of soil health—and to encourage the adoption of soil health-improving practices like cover cropping, no-till and diverse crop rotations.
The journey to improving soil health has its challenges. Every farm is different and has its own set of unique resource issues. Fortunately, our nation’s farmers are innovative, courageous and tenacious. NRCS is committed to assist these soil health pioneers—and to help make their farms more productive, resilient and profitable along the way.
As we face mounting production, climate and sustainability challenges, I believe there is no better time to make a long-term commitment to improve the health of our living and life-giving soil.
The promise of our future depends on it.
Jane Hardisty is the State Conservationist for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Indiana. For more information on soil health visit www.in.nrcs.usda.gov
Indiana Natural Resource Conservation Service
6013 Lakeside Boulevard
Indianapolis, IN 46278