WILMINGTON —Wilmington College is hosting a Cover Crop Symposium that will highlight proactive ways of attaining the goals of soil conservation and high water quality in two programs March 21.
The afternoon event, from 2 to 4 p.m., will delve into soil health and the basics of cover crops for those in agriculture who are starting to think about how and why cover crops might represent a practice that will reduce erosion and run-off while the evening session, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., will feature a panel of farmers discussing the pros and cons of cover crops from their personal experience.
Both programs will be held in the Center for the Sciences and Agriculture on the WC campus, corner of Elm and College streets.
The afternoon activity will feature Jim Hershey, president of the No-Till Farmer Alliance, and Leroy Bupp, a dairy and grain farmer from York County, Pa., who has developed a popular soil health demonstration with items made in his tool shop.
Hershey and his family own and operate a 500-acre crop and livestock farm in Lancaster County, Pa. His operation features chickens, swine, crop management service and a finished barn rented for special events.
Their crops include corn, wheat and soybeans, all of which are managed in a no-till /cover crop environment. Hershey has been planting into green living cover for more than seven years and has witnessed a significant improvement in the soil’s ability to handle drought and excessive wet conditions. He has also been doing cover crop inter-seeding for five years and is now marketing inter-seeders commercially.
Bupp’s crop program includes 420 acres of corn, 230 of beans and 50 of wheat in what his family calls “a giant worm farm” after years of no-till cropping and soil improvement practices. He has been no-tilling since 1976 and planting cover crops since 1990.
The evening program is designed for those producers that are actively involved in the practice or cover crops and those expecting to start soon. Experts will be able to answer their questions and offer an informed opinion and evidence of how successful cover crops are being used.
Hershey will participate in a panel discussion that also features Bob Hendershot with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and Roger Wenning, a cover crop advocate.
The event, which is free of charge, is co-sponsored by Wilmington College’s Agriculture Department, The Ohio State University Extension Service and the Clinton Soil and Water Conservation District.