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The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service will hold a soil health and cover crop event featuring Soil Health expert, Barry Fisher. The event will be held on from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., on April 12, at the Corner Pub & Deli, 213 E Milwaukee St, Argyle. 

The free event will feature Barry Fisher, a no-till farmer and soil health leader, serving as the Central Region Leader for the Soil Health Division of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service where he provides technical exchange for Soil Health Strategy implementation training and assistance to NRCS, farmers and partners throughout the Corn Belt and Northern Plains. He assists with state and regional initiatives which advance the technology of quality no-till, cover crops, adaptive nutrient and pest management, and crop rotations with precision technology.

Fisher serves on the National Soil Health Training Cadre for NRCS, the Midwest Cover Crops Council, and is a Certified Crop Advisor though the American Society of Agronomy. Fisher operates a cash grain and livestock farm in West-Central Indiana.

Discussion topics will include the four principles of soil health, using cover crops and reduced tillage to improve crop rotations. Rebuilding soil health and function is the key to regenerating full soil productivity. Fisher will discuss logical steps to successfully integrate a soil health cropping system that includes adaptive nutrient strategies and integrates quality strip-till/no-till, cover crops, and other practices such as conservation crop rotation and integrated weed and pest management. Key strategies are to increase nutrient recoverability, while improving soil organic matter and soil aggregate stability for resilience to drought and stress.

Cover crops can play multiple roles — scavenging nitrogen, improving infiltration and increasing water holding capacity -— which are critical for achieving maximum production in conservation cropping systems. Factors such as the understanding of changes in carbon/nitrogen cycles and planning effective seasonal management strategies are key to optimizing the system.

For more information, contact Melissa Bartz, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Lafayette Service Center at (608) 776-4028 x118.

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