CCSI Newsletter Sp2019 – Listening to Farmer Requests: Regional Ag Forum

What:  Regional Ag Forum
When: August 12th, 2019
Pat Bittner often drives over two hours to hear Soil Health experts and gather information to bring back to his farm in Southwest Indiana. Pat saw the need to bring the opportunity closer to home and has been working with CCSI and local conservation partners to make it happen.

Partnerships Bring Progress: 

  • Staff from local SWCDs, NRCS, Purdue Extension, and CCSI came together to plan the first Regional Ag Forum with Pat and Bonnie Bittner.
  • The group has secured Rick Clark (Indiana Farmer and Northeast Region American Soybean Conservation Legacy Award winner), Randy Kron (Indiana Farm Bureau President) and Marin Barbre (USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator) to speak about economics, farm policy, risk reduction, and crop insurance changes – especially those related to cover crops.

How it happened:

  • Pat Bittner had reached out to Stephanie McLain, Indiana NRCS State Soil Health Specialist, about hosting a field day in the southwest part of the state.
  • Working with Chris Lee, Princeton NRCS Tech Team Lead, who knew Pat personally, CCSI staff were able to connect.
  • Following an event that Pat drove 5+ hours to attend, the wheels were turning.
  • CCSI reached out to local SWCDs, NRCS, and Extension staff to help organize the event Bittner envisioned.

Targeted content:

  • Content and speakers were selected to appeal to a target farming audience that is less familiar or interested in no-till and/or cover crops.
  • The program will be bookended by Randy Kron, Indiana Farm Bureau president and Martin Barbre, USDA-Risk Management Agency Administrator (crop insurance) and other RMA officials.
  • Rick Clark and Barry Fisher, USDA-NRCS Soil Health Division, will focus on how soil health systems can increase profitability, reduce risk, and build resiliency to climate change.

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