Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Healthy Farms Conference Breakout Sessions IV

A. Panel: Farmers & Climate Change

This will be a panel discussion with farmers who are seeing and experiencing the impacts of climate change on their farms.  We’ll talk about what is happening, and how different farming practices are dealing with these impacts. What’s working, what’s not and what the future might look like.

Paul Rohrbaugh; with his family has been on their ranch for nearly 35 years. They have raised three sons on the ranch and involved them in all aspects of the operation. They have used management intensive grazing of their grassland since mid-80s, utilizing poultry, sheep, and cattle. They also utilize rotational haying and fire to improve the grasses. They direct market under the name of Pawnee Pride Meats (chosen by ballot from their sons). There are now seven grandchildren that all “help” in various capacities.

Crystal Powers; Darby Springs Farm. Our farm lies on a wetland (20ac) and creek bottom, so we are experience first hand the increase in rainfall intensity, but also the resilience in years of drought. Holistic planning helps us manage the increasing extremes and sequester carbon in our soils.

B. Cover Crops for Vegetable Production & Beyond 

This session will be geared for vegetable production and will cover; What are cover crops and why do they matter? Benefits of using cover crops; Soil biology and nutrient cycling; Choosing the right species; Planting; Management; Termination; Tillage

Nate Belcher, owner of Green Acres Cover Crops, is passionate and dedicated to helping producers implement farming methods that are regenerative, productive, and financially viable.  Green Acres was founded on the principle that healthy, biologically rich soils are the cornerstone upon which sustainable food production depends on.  The relationship between plants, animals and the land is key to agricultural systems that are self-sustaining and productive which is why Green Acres focus is providing producers with the knowledge and seeds needed to feed their animals, crops, and soils.  Nate lives in Omaha, Nebraska with his wife Becky and son Rye, and could not be more excited about what the future of farming looks like.

C. Swiss Army Landscaping – Multi-Use Plants for Improved Landscape Engagement
Graham Herbst uses the term “Swiss Army Landscaping” to refer to multi-use plants and landscapes that better connect people to their outdoor spaces.  Topics will include landscape ethics and renewed creativity through exposure to new plant material and new ways to use plants and landscape materials “Rather than just designing our landscapes for ornamental qualities, we should consider how to make them more compelling and engaging us in new, unique ways.”

Graham Herbst is a native Nebraskan and graduate of the Horticulture Program at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln.  After working in the landscape and arboriculture industries, he moved to the Nebraska Forest Service to promote innovative Urban Forestry projects as the Community Forestry Specialist for Eastern Nebraska.  Graham loves growing trees and food at home, connecting people and information through social media and bringing the family out to plant trees and explore each corner of the state. 

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