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Ames, Iowa— Iowa Learning Farms, in partnership with Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa Cover Crop Working Group, will host a cover crop workshop on Thursday, March 3, from 10:30a.m.-12:30p.m. at the Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm near Lewis. The event is free, open to the public, and includes a complimentary meal.

Cover crops continue to grow in popularity in Iowa due to the many benefits they provide. Such benefits include reduced nitrogen and phosphorus loads entering water bodies, increased soil organic matter, and reduced soil erosion.  Fall 2015 was a good season for cover crop establishment and growth, with adequate moisture and growing temperatures.  Great fall growth helped protect the soil during the heavy rain events, but could present challenges this spring if farmers are not prepared with a termination plan and equipment adjustments.

To help producers prepare for spring management Carl Pederson, Iowa State University (ISU) Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering agricultural specialist will share his experiences managing cover crops on both large and small scale trial plots around the state. Stefan Gailans, Practical Farmers of Iowa research scientist and cooperators’ program manager, will discuss cover crop variety trial results and species selection.  Tom Kaspar, plant physiologist at the USDA-ARS National Soil Tilth Laboratory, will highlight cover crop effects on soil health and spring termination considerations.

The workshop will take place at Armstrong Memorial Research and Demonstration Farm 53020 Hitchcock Avenue, Lewis, IA 51544 and the complimentary meal will be prepared by The Downtowner. The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are suggested to ensure adequate space and food. Contact Liz Juchems at 515-294-5429 or email ilf@iastate.edu.

For more information about Iowa Learning Farms, visit the website: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/ilf/.

Established in 2004, Iowa Learning Farms is building a Culture of Conservation, encouraging adoption of conservation practices. Farmers, researchers and ILF team members are working together to identify and implement the best management practices that improve water quality and soil health while remaining profitable. Partners of Iowa Learning Farms are the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service and Iowa Department of Natural Resources (USEPA section 319), Conserva­tion Districts of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Water Center and Practical Farmers of Iowa.