Farm Tour: Soil Health Stewards

About the tour

It’s one thing to read about the soil health craze that’s captured the nation, and quite another to visit the farms and research institutions where soil health practices are being put into action. If you’re excited about soil health and ready to learn more, this tour is for you.

First you’ll meet Harry Cope at his farm northwest of St. Louis. Harry is a fourth generation farmer who aims to leave his land better than he got it. He raises 100 cattle and 350 ewes on 200 acres of year-round cover cropped land and 600 acres of permanent pasture. He utilizes a planned grazing system with long rest periods. During the growing season, his row crop acreage is planted in a summer cover crop mixture including sorghum sudan and sweetclover. In the fall and winter, the acreage is planted with a hearty mix of oats, rye, annual ryegrass, hairy vetch and crimson clover. Harry partners with researchers to house test plots of cover crop and grazing practices on his farm. His philosophy is to produce quality feed for his animals while also feeding the soil ecosystem. Harry received a SARE grant in the past, which you can view here.

Next, you’ll travel to the NRCS Plant Materials Center in Elsberry, Missouri. This is one of twenty-five plant materials centers across the country. Their mission is to address today’s natural resource challenges through the cultivation of conservation plants and the development of innovative planting technology. In Elsberry, you’ll hear about their cover crop trials and take a dive into the applied research component of soil health. You’ll also learn how the date a cover crop is planted affects its ability to overwinter and the amount of biomass it can accrue.

Researchers and farmers are driving the soil health movement across the country and in this tour you’ll see how their partnerships create a cleaner world for all of us.

Tour highlights: cover crops, no-till, livestock, rotational grazing, cover crop trials, soil health

8:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Cost: $75.00

Lunch will be provided.