2015 Green Lands
Blue Waters Conference
Bridges and Buffers, Farms and Cities:
Continuous Living Cover Farming Systems
Cover Crops Session
November 3, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm -- Mississippi Room
Cover crops in the Upper Midwest. Do we need them? What services can they provide? Can they be profitable? What are the bottlenecks to adoption, both scientific and policy? What role do cover crops play in the sustainable intensification of the agricultural food print in the Upper Midwest? In this cover crop session, Scotty Wells (University of Minnesota Extension) will lead off with a primer on cover crop establishment technologies and new strategies with value added winter annual oilseeds. Dean Thomas (SE Minnesota, Area 6 Soil Health Tech) will address methods of seeding cover crops in corn and soybeans, and short-season cropping systems. Kent Solberg (Sustainable Farming Association) will address uses of cover crops in livestock operations and as a bridge to bring livestock into cropping systems. Mark Gutierrez (RMA Midwest Regional Office) will discuss the most recent rules associated with cover crop establishment and termination. Conferees will be invited to share their experiences with cover crops and bring questions to the discussion.
M. Scott Wells is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Agronomy and Plant Genetics at University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Dr. Wells’ applied and field-oriented research program provides research-based technologies, which address the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Such technologies include cover crop interseeding into corn and soybean cropping systems, developing agronomic management of new winter oilseed relay cropping systems, evaluating optimal management strategies for alfalfa production systems and assessing the fate of nitrogen in annual and perennial cropping systems. In conjunction with his research programs, he also provides statewide educational leadership for both the University of Minnesota Forage Extension Team and the Cover Crop Team. Dr. Wells received his B.A. in Mathematics in 2008 from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. He continued his graduate education at North Carolina State University where he received his Ph.D. from the department of Crop Science researching nitrogen cycling and weed ecology in organic cropping systems. Coming from a farming background, he is interested in developing end-user technologies that enhance the sustainability (i.e. ecological, economical, and sociological) of Minnesotan farmers and adjacent communities.
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Kent Solberg, Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota
Kent and his wife Linda own and operate a grass-based livestock farm near Verndale, MN. Kent has been involved in planned grazing and pasture based livestock systems 25 years. For the past 7 years he has used cover crops and seeded annuals to extend the grazing season and improve soil health. He has taught college courses and presented at numerous workshops on forages, fencing, grazing, soil health and livestock management. Kent currently serves as the Livestock and Grazing Specialist for the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota.
Dean Thomas, Fillmore County SWCD
Dean Thomas is the Area 6 Soil Health Technician operating out of the office of the Fillmore County, MN Soil & Water Conservation District. His work with farmers includes managed grazing systems and implementing cover crops in annual cropping systems.
Mark Gutierrez, USDA Risk Management Agency
Mark Gutierrez is a manager with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency in St. Paul, Minnesota. Before joining RMA, Mark was an Agricultural Statistician with the National Agricultural Statistics Service and he graduated from New Mexico State University with an M.S. in Agricultural Economics.