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News Release

Cover Crops Forums to Explore Soil-Health Building Opportunities

Contact: Brenda Ling, public affairs specialist,(307) 233-6759
Date:Feb. 3, 2014

CASPER, Wyoming  (Feb. 3, 2014) – Farmers, ranchers, researchers, agricultural business operators and conservationists are invited to participate in a forum on cover crops and soil health, hosted by USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) from  8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Feb. 18, at six  different locations in Wyoming. Gillette, the seventh location, will start at 11 a.m. with a re-stream of the event.

The forums will be conducted simultaneously along with more than 200 other forums throughout the country. They will be in concert with the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health in Omaha, Neb., sponsored by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation.

In addition to providing a venue to discuss local cover crop and soil health opportunities, benefits and barriers, the forums will feature live-streaming video of the national conference opening session featuring presentations by Howard G. Buffett; Jason Weller, chief of NRCS; Ray Gaesser, Iowa farmer and president of the American Soybean Association, and a panel of farmers.

Wyoming State Conservationist Astrid Martinez said the local-level forums will provide NRCS and its conservation partners and stakeholders a platform to more fully organize and enable state and local soil health efforts at the grassroots level.

“Communications technology allows participants in Wyoming to view the national discussions,” Martinez said. “Then local farmers and ranchers can discuss the benefits of healthier soil and how to improve soil health on their land.”

James Bauchert, assistant state soil scientist, said forum participants will also have the opportunity to provide ideas and recommendations that will be forwarded to national researchers and policy makers. “The local forums will provide an excellent opportunity to discuss how to build soil health, improve yields, curb erosion, manage pests and build resilience in farming systems here in Wyoming and to assess opportunities for, or barriers to, the broader adoption of soil health management systems,” he said.  

The seven forum locations are the NRCS field offices Wheatland (RSVP if attending, 322-9060), Buffalo (684-2526), Gillette (RSVP if attending, 682-1824), Powell (754-9301), Saratoga (326-5657), Pinedale (367-2257), and Riverton (856-7524). For more information, contact James Bauchert at (307) 233-6784, james.bauchert@wy.usda.gov.

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