Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Healthy Farms Conference Breakout Sessions II

Panel: Pesticide Drift & Organic Farms

This will be a panel of farmers presenting their experiences with pesticide drift onto their organic crops. Each farmer will review their own experience, and then will field questions from the floor for the entire panel.

Marnie Jensen; Partner at Husch Blackwell specializing in Food & Agribusiness Litigation. Marnie provides effective and efficient advice to companies in the food and agribusiness industries. Her clients include organic agriculture trade associations and food producers, manufacturers and distributors. Marnie is also on the board of directors for NSAS. 

Paul Swanson; is a Certified Educator in Holistic Management, Organic Farmer and Re-careered Extension Educator. Paul’s training was with Alan Savory.

Alison Krohn; operates a part-time prairie seed business: Shoestring Acres Seed. Native grasses and wildflowers are grown and harvested from her family's farm in Antelope County, south of Clearwater, Ne. During the week she lives in Lincoln and works for the Nebraska Department of Roads inspecting construction and maintenance projects in the southeast part of the state to ensure environmental compliance with various permits. She has a diverse work background from harvesting seed for Prairie Plains Resource Institute to teaching in the Landscape Architecture program at North Dakota State University. For 10 years following graduation she worked for USDA Natural Resources Service as a landscape architect and RC&D Coordinator across several states in the southeast and mid-Atlantic U.S. Alison grew up in Illinois and has a BA in Philosophy from Rockford College and a Masters degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois.

Managing Crops, Profitably, for Wetlands and Wildlife

Advances in precision agriculture allow growers to pinpoint fertility inputs and manage irrigation water to maximize productivity. Evaluating physical and inherent soil landscape properties in less productive areas often provides opportunities to benefit wildlife through reduces inputs or participation in financial assistance programs.  Learn about the wildlife needs growers can satisfy when managing low yielding zones.

Zach Rigg operates an agricultural and land management consulting business, Rigg Soil Solutions and is affiliated with Vantage Agri Services, Inc. of Avoca, NE. Rigg has spent the past two decades inventorying and evaluating soil landscapes to help growers maximize sustainable agricultural productivity and restore the function of native plant communities. He has managed wildlife and agricultural resources for the US Air Force and the US Forest Service as a Soil Scientist in seven states from Ohio to North Dakota. In addition, Rigg has planned and assisted implementation of soil quality improvement and wildlife enhancement on tens of thousands of acres in Nebraska and Missouri through various positions with the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Rigg was one of the founding members of the Nebraska NRCS Soil Health Team and aided many early adopting growers apply soil health principals in Southeast Nebraska. Rigg earned a B.S. in Agronomy with a Soil Science emphasis in 2004 which was preceded by four years of service in the US Air Force. He is dedicated to teach growers ways to exploit productive landscapes and minimize excessive inputs on less productive areas. Rigg seeks management strategies that provide mutual benefits to agricultural systems and wildlife.

Improving Wetlands Using Holistic Grazing of Dairy Cattle & Low Impact Crossings

Without disturbance wetlands become overrun with invasive species, holistic grazing with low impact crossings will be explored to improve wetlands and provide valuable forage. Holistic grazing using dairy cows and pastured poultry, including low impact wetland crossings, will be implemented and monitored with results shared at a public open house.  Best practices will be explored though a farmer forum with area wetland graziers.

William & Crystal Powers; Darby Springs Farm. The farm, Darby Springs Farm, is 40 acres (18 pasture, 20 wetlands). This year, five dairy cows, 50 laying hens and 400 broiler chickens were raised on pasture. During the project timeframe, the farm will be expanding to 1000 broilers, and 200 layers. Crystal and William both grew up on farms and have been raising dairy cows and poultry for four years together.

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