Arkansas Cotton: Healthy Soils for Sustainable Production, McGehee, Feb. 25

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Better cotton starts with better soil. Growers can learn how to improve what’s underfoot at a joint meeting with Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton and the Arkansas Soil Health Alliance on Feb. 25 in McGehee.

The meeting, held at Hoots BBQ, 2008 U.S. 65, opens at 8:30 a.m. and runs through 3 p.m. Attendance is free, but attendees are asked to register for the event by calling Debbie Moreland at 1-501-425-2891. While geared toward cotton producers, all farmers are invited to attend. Lunch will be provided.

“Soil is more than just an anchor for plants,” Matt Fryer, extension soil health instructor for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said. “It’s a matrix that provides nutrients and water, all supported by a complex system of microbes, fungi and soil organisms such as earthworms.

“Maintaining the health of this system is key to growing healthy and sustainable crops,” he said.

The joint meeting will include a farmer panel, lunch speaker and on-farm tour will help cotton growers evaluate and improve the impact of strong soil health management systems.

The agenda:

8:30-9:00         Registration and Coffee

9:00-9:10         Welcome and Introductions
                         Robby Bevis, Arkansas Soil Health Alliance president
Mike Sullivan, Arkansas State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

9:10-9:40         Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Project
                         David Lamm, Soil Health Institute

9:40-10:10       Soil Health Benefits
                          Willie Durham, soil health specialist USDA NRCS

10:10-10:40     How to Effectively Apply for NRCS Funding
                          Jena Moore, assistant state conservationist for programs, USDA NRCS

10:40-10:50     Break

10:50-11:20     Water Use Dynamics with Cover Crops
                          Mike Hamilton – extension irrigation instructor, NRCS and Division of Agriculture

11:20-12:00     Arkansas Producer Panel
                          Sam Whitaker, Steve Stevens, Robby Bevis
Facilitator: Matt Fryer, extension soil health instructor, Division of Agriculture

12:00-1:00       Lunch

                        Utilizing Cover Crops on my Farm
                        Adam Chappell, Arkansas farmer

1:30-3:00         Stevens/Kirkpatrick Farm Tour
                         240 Stevens Rd, Tiller, AR 71670

Equipment overview

                        Steve Stevens

Soil Health Sampling and Discussion

                        Matt Fryer, extension soil health instructor, Division of Agriculture
Steve Green, professor of soils and water, Arkansas State University

“Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton” is supported through the generosity of the Wrangler brand, the VF Corporation Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation. The integrated Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton and Arkansas Soil Health Alliance Annual Meeting has been created by the Arkansas Soil Health Alliance.

To learn more about soil health, contact Matt Fryer at mfryer@uaex.edu or 501-671-2176.




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