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January 30, 2014

Cover Crop Workshops are a Hot Topic at the 2014 Iowa Power Farming Show

For the second year, Lessing-Flynn is proud to partner with The Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Association (INEDA) and the Iowa Power Farming Show.

This year the Iowa Power Farming Show added something new to their farm show lineup, Cover Crop Workshops, which have been an overwhelmingly popular draw for the show.

Cover Crop ProgramWith experienced farmers and other experts leading the 45 one-hour sessions, each day the workshops feature five “core” overview sessions on cover crop basics, seeding, termination, integrating with livestock, as well as four daily in-depth sessions on aerial and high-clearance seeding, trouble-shooting and radish, ryegrass and cereal rye.

View the Program: Cover Crop Workshops

We sat down with Dan Zinkand, Iowa Cover Crops Consultant and member of the workshop’s planning group.

LF: How did the idea for the Cover Crop Workshop come about?

DZ: I was on the program committee for the December 2012 Soil and Water Conservation Society Cover Crop Conference that was held at Prairie Meadows. While participating in that conference I thought that the Iowa Power Farming Show would be an excellent venue for practical workshops on cover crops.

The Power Show not only draws thousands of farmers, but also features many exhibitors who have the equipment that farmers need to seed cover crops. This includes drills, vertical tillage tools and high-clearance sprayers and/or nitrogen applicators that can be customized to seed cover crops into standing corn and soybeans.

Our attendance on the first two days of this new event topped more than 1,100 people, which confirms our feeling that the Iowa Power Farming Show is an ideal place to connect with progressive commercial farmers who are committed to being profitable and doing the right things environmentally.

LF: What has been the response to the workshops?

DZ: Our speakers — most of whom are farmers who have used cover crops — have remarked that the people attending the workshops have many practical questions about how they can use cover crops.

LF: While setting up the program, how were the presenters selected?

DZ: Farmers trust farmers the most. That's why we invited speakers whom many are farmers and other experts who could share practical insights. The experience of these speakers with cover crops can save farmers who haven't tried cover crops time and money.

The farmers speaking at the workshops not only understand the rewards of cover crops, but also the risks. Cover crops are not a one-size-fits-all "silver bullet" and the more that farmers can learn what can go wrong with cover crops and try to head off potential problems the better.

LF: Do you feel as though the Cover Crop Workshops have been successful?

Cover Crop Workshops

DZ: For a new event, we have had excellent attendance — more than 1,100 people on the first two days. Speakers have noted that the attendees are very interested and are asking many questions.

LF: Why are cover crops a hot topics and growing in popularity?

DZ: Cover Crops are a hot topic for several reasons:

1. The adoption of the Iowa Nutrient Reduction Strategy in 2013.

2. The cost-share assistance that more than 1,000 Iowa farmers received last summer from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship for trying cover crops for the first time.

3. The emphasis of the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Iowa on soil health.

LF: Do you have any last parting comments?

DZ: Many people and organizations have contributed time, money and in-kind services to make the Cover Crop Workshops a success. And this inaugural event would not be possible without the support of the Iowa Power Farming Show and the hospitality of the Iowa Events Center.

For more information about the Cover Crop Workshops, check the websites of the Iowa Power Farming Show and the Conservation Districts of Iowa.

“The Cover Crop Workshops enhance the Iowa Power Farm Show to continue to bring the most relevant information to our attendees,” said Tom Junge, Director of the Iowa Power Farming Show.

Sponsors of the Cover Crop Workshops are: Dupont Pioneer, www.Saddlebutte.com, Oregon Ryegrass Growers Seed Commission, Kimberley Ag Consulting, Iowa Farm Bureau, NirtoRadish, KB Seed Solutions, AMPAC Seed Company, Cover Crop Solutions, Monsanto, Iowa Corn, Iowa Pork Producer's Association and Environmental Tillage Systems.

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