Local Farmer Featured Speaker at Regional Cover Crop Meeting

Local Farmers and Others Invited to Attend the Free Event – February 18, 2014
Brad Barber, a local farmer from Mt. Orab, OH, will be sharing his 7+ years of experience planting winter cover crops at the USDA sponsored Cover Crop & Soil Health Forum on February 18th.  Local farmers are invited to attend the free event to be held at the Clermont County Agricultural Services Center in Owensville from 9 a.m.-noon.  The forum will take place following a live broadcast of the National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health, which will facilitate discussions with farmers, educators, researchers and agency representatives across the country.  “This is an exciting opportunity for farmers to meet up with like-minded people and take part in national discussions on cover crops and soil health,” states Mr. Barber.

Farmers have traditionally planted cover crops between the growing seasons to help manage the soil on their fields.  A renewed interest in the practice is growing amongst local farmers as a means to reduce fertilizer and pesticide costs.  “Cover crops keep soil and nutrients on the field, improve water infiltration, add organic matter to the soil and can minimize problems with pests,” states Mr. Barber.

Conservation programs, offered through the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), provide financial and technical assistance to farmers to implement such practices.  “The NRCS cost-share
programs can help farmers just starting out with cover crops,” says Mr. Barber.  NRCS is currently accepting applications through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), which offers cost-
share to implement cover crops and other practices.  Payment rates vary from $41-$72/acre for cover crops; the deadline to apply is February 21, 2014.

“Cover crops are key to improving soil quality and crop yields,” states Mr. Barber.   Local farmers who are interested in cover crops are encouraged to attend the Cover Crop Forum on February 18th and to sign-up
for the EQIP program before the February 21st deadline.

The Clermont County Farm Bureau will provide a free catered lunch for attendees at the Cover Crop Forum.  Online registration is available for the Cover Crop Forum at: clermontswcd.org/event.aspx.  Those interested in EQIP applications, contact  NRCS District Conservation Lori Lenhart  at: (513)732-2181 Ext. 3.