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News Release

Join in a national cover crop and soil health conversation on Feb. 18th

Diane Baedeker Petit
(media inquiries) 413-253-4371

Sudan grass is grown as a cover crop to improve soil health.

You are invited to attend a free, live broadcast of the SARE-sponsored “Forum  on Cover Crops and Soil Health:  Harvesting the Potential” on Tuesday, February 18thJoin the conversation at one of four Massachusetts locations, which are among nearly 200 locations nationwide hosted by the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Cooperative Extension.

Each forum will feature a live-streamed video broadcast of the opening sessions of the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health in Omaha, Nebraska. The broadcast will begin at 10:00 am EST. Registration begins at 9:15 am and local welcoming remarks at 9:45 am.

Following the broadcast, discuss with fellow forum participants how cover cropping can build soil health, improve yields, curb erosion, manage pests and build resilience into your farming system. The forums are open to anyone who would like to hear about and discuss the prospects for cover crops and soil health improvements on American farms and ranches. The program concludes at 12:00 noon.

Please RSVP to Tom Akin, USDA-NRCS at 413-253-4365 or thomas.akin@ma.usda.govby close of business, Friday February 14th to help us plan accordingly.  If you need special accommodations, please let us know. The program is free.

The broadcast from Omaha will feature:

  • Howard G. Buffett, Howard G. Buffett Foundation
  • Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture (invited)
  • Ray Gaesser, American Soybean Association president
  • A panel of expert producer conservationists:
  • Dave Brandt (Ohio)
  • Gabe Brown (North Dakota)
  • Dan DeSutter (Indiana)
  • Clay Mitchell (Iowa)

The post-broadcast program will include a presentation by local soil health experts and discussion open to all participants.

Massachusetts forum locations:

Fernald Hall, Rm 11
270 Stockbridge Rd.
Amherst MA 01003 
Moderators: Sonia Schloemann, UMass Extension and Vince Snyder, USDA-NRCS

UMass Cranberry Experiment Station
1 State Bog Rd
East Wareham, MA 02538
Moderators: Deb Cannon, UMass Extension and Lisa Petruski, USDA-NRCS

Doyle Center, The Trustees of Reservations
464 Abbott Avenue
Leominster, MA 01453
Moderators: Mary Johnson, The Trustees of Reservations and Dan Lenthall, USDA-NRCS

Brigham Hill Community Farm
37 Wheeler Rd
North Grafton, MA 01536
Moderators: Katie Campbell-Nelson, UMass Extension and Tom Akin, USDA-NRCS

This forum is being jointly funded by the USDA-NIFA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and the Howard G. Buffett Foundation. The program has been planned by a diverse committee of cover crop and soil health experts, including representatives of USDA-NRCS and the Midwest Cover Crops Council. Logistics for the conference are being handled by the Soil and Water Conservation Society.