Midwest Cover Crops Council Conference Set for February in Illinois

Adding cover crops, such as forage turnips and rye grass, to standing corn offers a unique buffet for livestock farmers after harvest. ( Sara Brown )

The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC), in collaboration with University of Illinois Extension, will be holding its annual meeting in Springfield, Feb. 20-21. This is the first time Illinois will be the host state for the MCCC conference. The meeting will be held at the Northfield Inn Suites & Conference Center, located at 3280 Northfield Drive, Springfield.

The conference theme this year is, “Cover Crops and Soil Health: The Practical Way Forward.” Feb. 20 will consist of a working session to guide MCCC in developing meaningful outreach tools, including a listening session with Certified Crop Advisers (CCAs) to gauge usefulness of currently available cover crop resources and future resources. In addition, MCCC states, provinces, and partners will provide research and Extension updates related to cover crops. Feb. 21 will be the Grower Conference portion and will feature speakers on topics such as:

  • Practical Implementation of Cover Crops – Lee Briese, 2017 International Crop Adviser (CCA) of the Year
  • Building Your Soil Health System on Sound Principles – Barry Fisher, NRCS soil health specialist
  • Nutrient Reduction Regulations in Ohio – Sarah Noggle, Ohio State University Extension agriculture and natural resources educator
  • The Effect of N Management and Cover Crops on Tile Nitrate Loads in Central Illinois – Lowell Gentry, U of I principal research specialist in agriculture
  • Soil Health: What’s Old, What’s New, and How does it Relate to Cover Cropping? – Andrew Margenot, U of I assistant professor of soil science
  • Effects of Cover Crops on Weed Control in Soybeans – Brent Sunderlage, Southern Illinois University weed science researcher
  • Farmer and CCA Panel Discussion – moderated by Joel Gruver, Western Illinois University associate professor of soil Science and sustainable ag

“The MCCC Conference will provide an excellent opportunity for Illinois farmers, agriculture professionals, CCAs, and the public to engage with cover crop experts from around the Midwest. From farmers who have never tried cover crops to those who have years of experience, there will be something to learn for all,” says Jennifer Woodyard, U of I Extension watershed outreach associate.

Registration fees are $60 for the Grower Conference on Feb. 21 only, or $110 for both Feb. 20 and 21. Fees are discounted for CCAS; they may register for the Grower Conference at a rate of $30, and attend the working session and updates on February 20 for free. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be available both days of the conference for CCAs. Register online at http://mccc.msu.edu/about/meetings/.

Sponsors and vendors are still being accepted. To sponsor the conference, go to http://mccc.msu.edu/about/meetings/.

Contact Jennifer Woodyard at woodyar2@illinois.edu or 217-347-7773, or Anna Morrow (MCCC Program Manager) at annamorrow@purdue.edu or 317-392-6417, for more information.