Conservation in Action Tour a Success

Conservation in Action Tour a Success

Two Hundred Visited Northwest Ohio Farms

Mark Scarpitti, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, left, demonstrates how no-till soil (in container on right) absorbs water while heavily tilled soil erodes quickly under water. This absorption capability protects no-till ground from erosion.

More than 200 farmers, government officials, agribusiness, university and non-profit organization representatives toured Northwest Ohio on Aug. 9, 2011, to see agricultural conservation in action.

Tour host Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) showcased profitable, innovative Northwest Ohio farms while participants learned how the producers make conservation an integral part of their operations.

CTIC welcomed participants from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Ontario, South Dakota, Washington D.C., and Wisconsin. And more than 15 agribusinesses shared their knowledge, expertise and product information.

Rex Martin, CTIC board chair and Syngenta Crop Protection head of industry affairs, shares his thoughts. “This tour really shows the value of CTIC – bringing together a diverse group of people to learn about, talk about and explore new opportunities for conservation in agriculture. Excellent farms, important dialogue and a great mix of public and private sector perspectives make this tour something special.”

Participants appreciated the variety of information shared and time to visit with others from around the country.

CTIC Executive Director Karen Scanlon comments, “This tour is a chance for people to visit farms and see real agricultural producers implementing technology and solutions for better soil and water quality. And these farmers, who make a profit while protecting resources, share their stories and offer advice to others wanting to make similar changes.”

Tour stops included The Andersons, where participants learned how this company aids the region’s producers in applying the right fertilizer source at the right rate, at the right time and in the right place.

At Bridgewater Dairy, owner Dr. Leon Weaver discussed how his 4,000 head family-run dairy recycles manure – using a methane digester and targeted application – and grows its own cow feed on 2,300 acres of corn. Joe Nester, independent crop consultant, described agricultural technology used at the dairy and methods for improving production efficiency and profitability.

Participants travelled to the Mavis Farm, where Gary and Scott Mavis shared their philosophy on conservation and how they are systematically transitioning their operation to a successful, profitable no-till system. John McGuire, Simplified Technology Services, discussed precision ag technology.

Then at Allen Dean's 1,900-acre corn, soybean and cover crop operation, visitors heard a presentation by Frank Gibbs, USDA resource soil scientist, who discussed the benefits of cover crops to soil health. View a video of Gibbs’ presentation. Dean presented how he uses cover crops to improve water infiltration, soil quality and erosion control.

Todd Hesterman hosted the final farm stop where tour attendees joined in discussions about soluble phosphorus, its impacts to water quality, sources and solutions. Dr. Libby Dayton, soil and environmental chemistry research scientist at The Ohio State University, and Mark Scarpitti, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, demonstrated the ability of no-tilled soils to drastically reduce erosion by water and retain soluble phosphorus.

The Blue Creek Conservation Area (BCCA) provided a historical setting for supper. Now a city-owned park, BCCA was once home to Native American tribes and later the Toledo House of Corrections. AgRobotics, AGROTAIN International, John Deere, The Mosaic Company, The Andersons and Specialty Fertilizer Products participated in the tour’s Conservation Technology Expo and talked one-on-one with tour attendees about their products that support conservation agriculture.

The day ended with comments by U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, who shared her love of the area and her commitment to conservation of the Maumee River watershed and Lake Erie. (for in-depth stories, interviews and photos visit Agwired. Find additional coverage at Farm Futures' tour article "Tour Proves Why Conservation is Still Cool" and No-Till Farmer's tweets the day of the event. CTIC thanks all members of the media who attended.

CTIC will partner with Delta F.A.R.M. (Delta Farmers Advocating Resource Management) to host the 2012 Conservation In Action Tour in Mississippi, early June 2012.

2011 Conservation In Action Tour sponsors included Agri Drain, AgRobotics/Agrium Advanced Technologies, AGROTAIN International, The Andersons, Case IH, The Fertilizer Institute, John Deere, Monsanto, The Mosaic Company, The Nature Conservancy, Ohio Corn and Wheat Association, Ohio Soybean Alliance, Pioneer, Specialty Fertilizer Products, and Syngenta.

CTIC, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, is comprised of members of ag industry, ag publications, ag associations, conservation organizations and producers and is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service and other public and private entities.

CTIC champions, promotes and provides information on technologies and sustainable agricultural systems that conserve and enhance soil, water, air and wildlife resources and are productive and profitable.

08.19.2011