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Conservation Connection e-blast - February 10, 2014

Conservation Connection e-blastThe latest news from NRCS Massachusetts and our partners

Soil Health and Cover Crop Public Forums

You are cordially invited to participate in one of the Massachusetts Cover Crop and Soil Health Forums on February 18, 2014. Check-in for the forums will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the meeting will adjourn at 1:00 p.m. A list of the forum locations in Massachusetts is included below.

  1. UMass/Amherst, Fernald Hall, Rm 11, 270 Stockbridge Rd., Amherst MA 01003
  2. UMass Cranberry Experiment Station, 1 State Bog Rd, East Wareham, MA 02538
  3. Doyle Center, Trustees of Reservations, 464 Abbott Avenue, Leominster, MA 01453
  4. Brigham Hill Community Farm, 37 Wheeler Rd, North Grafton, MA 01536

The meeting will open with live video internet-stream of the opening sessions of the National Cover Crop and Soil Health Conference in Omaha, Nebraska, which will feature Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack (invited); Howard G. Buffett, Howard G. Buffett Foundation; Jason Weller, USDA-NRCS Chief; Ray Gaesser, American Soybean Association president; and a panel of expert producer conservationists: Dave Brandt (Ohio); Gabe Brown (North Dakota); Dan DeSutter (Indiana); Clay Mitchell (Iowa).

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. Approximately 200 hundred concurrent “forum” locations throughout the country will provide NRCS and its conservation partners and stakeholders with a unique opportunity to experience the conference and discuss ways to more fully organize and energize efforts to enable the soil health movement—at the grassroots level.

The national conference is sponsored by the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), and USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and will bring together key leaders, researchers, innovators and policy makers in American agriculture to examine the benefits, opportunities and challenges associated with improving the health and function of our soils through the adoption of soil health management systems. The local forums are sponsored by Howard G. Buffett Foundation, USDA-SARE, Soil & Water Conservation Society, and USDA-NRCS.

To reserve a seat at any of the locations above, RSVP to: Tom Akin,, 413-253-4365 by Monday, February 17, 2014

More information on the forums and cover crops is available on the SARE website.

Bristol County Conservation District offers seed heat treatment on Feb. 28

The Bristol County Conservation District is offering a seed heat treatment for tomato, pepper, eggplant, crucifers, herbs and other seeds on Friday, February 28, 2014 at the Bristol County Agricultural High School. The treatment will be conducted by Meg McGrath from Cornell University Cooperative Extension.  

Seed heat treatment is used to control seed borne bacterial and fungal pathogens. More information on heat treatment is available on the Cornell University website.

The seed treatment is free to any interested farmer or commercial grower. Registration is easy but required. Please contact Sue Guiducci for registration and further details at or call 508-990-2854.