Jim Hoorman, regional soil health specialist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be the primary instructor of a two-day workshop devoted to the installation, use and benefits of cover crops to farms and soils in the Western Basin of Lake Erie.
This intensive workshop will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 17 and 24, at Cabela’s, 110 Cabela Blvd. in Dundee, Mich.
The $75 cost is due by Jan. 14 to the Monroe County Ag Council, P.O. Box 57, Ida, MI 48140. Interested persons can also register with payment at the Monroe Conservation District office, 1137 S. Telegraph Road in Monroe or at the Monroe County Farm Bureau office, 8300 Ida West Road in Ida. Registration at the door is $95.
Cover crops are plants seeded into farm fields, either within or outside of the normal growing season for the primary purpose of maintaining or improving the quality of the soils and ecosystem. Cover crops can include grasses or legumes that can be grown for cover or feed.
The Lake Erie algae situation requires farmers to do their part to hold nutrients in farmland and keep them out of surface and drainage waters. USDA has provided funds to help farmers implement conservation practices, including establishing and maintaining cover crops near water.
Some of the benefits of cover crops includes nitrogen management, erosion control, weed suppression, better soil quality and structure and insect management. Covers can also improve soil tilth on heavy, clay soils, and improve organic matter on light, sandy soils.
The first day of the workshop will focus on eight key soil health topics; the second day will cover nine areas of advanced soil health. Attendees will receive information about new funding opportunities available to farmers in the Western Basin of Lake Erie.
Sponsors of this educational workshop include Ag Council, NRCS, the Monroe County Conservation District and the Monroe County Farm Bureau. For more information, contact Ned Birkey at email@example.com or call or text 734-260-3442. This program has been approved for MAEAP Phase 1 credit.
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