Sustainable Crops and Livestock Systems Workshop set for Dec. 6

Sustainable Crops and Livestock Systems Workshop set for Dec. 6

November 26, 2008

"Keeping Agriculture Viable for the Next Generation" is the theme of the Sustainable Crops and Livestock Systems Conference scheduled for Dec. 6 at Sidney.

The workshop will be at Western Nebraska Community College, 371 S. College Drive, from 8:45 a.m. until 3:45 p.m. It is sponsored by the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Society (NSAS) and Organic Crop Improvement Association (OCIA) NE Chapter No. 2.

Advance registration is requested by Dec. 1. The registration fee is $25. Certified Crop Adviser (CCA) credits have been applied for. Lunch will be served. For registration and information about the conference or exhibitor booths, contact Extension Educator Karen DeBoer at the UNL Extension Office, P.O. Box 356, 920 Jackson St., Sidney, NE 69162. Phone: 308-254-4455 or 866-865-1703; Email: To download a brochure and registration form, go to

Ag producers and personnel from the University of Wyoming, South Dakota State University, and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will describe how producers can use cover crops and crop rotations to improve soil fertility and feed livestock; transition their operations to organic production using EQIP (the Environmental Quality Incentive Program); apply for SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) farmer-rancher grants to perform on-farm research, marketing or demonstration projects; diversity farm and ranch operations; and involve the family in an agri-tourism venture.

Keynote speaker will be Jim Krall of the University of Wyoming. He will discuss research conducted at UW aimed at understanding the potential of "Ley" system agriculture, in which annual forages are rotated with winter wheat, replacing at least part of the traditional 14-month fallow period. At noon, Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator, Nebraska Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Coordinator, will talk about SARE Farmer-Rancher Grants and how to apply for them.

Topics of concurrent sessions will include:

Dryland Crop Rotations and Forages for the High Plains: John Rickertsen, Research Agronomist, SouthDakota State University, West River Ag Center, Rapid City, will discuss findings from his long term rotation study, research with annual forages and swath grazing. Drew Lyon, University of Nebraska, Dryland Cropping SystemsSpecialist, Scottsbluff, will respond to Rickertsen's presentation and put it into context for the Panhandle. Organic Farming Basics and Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) Cost Share: Dennis Demmel, Organic Farmer, Ogallala. The New 100-Beef Cow Ownership Program: Weldon Sleight, Dean, Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, will discuss a new program that is a partnership between the USDA Farm Service Agency, the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, the Nebraska Cattlemen, and the Nebraska Farm Bureau and is designed to return NCTA graduates to ranches and rural communities with 100 cows. Agritourism and Family: Sue Anne Switzer, Calamus Outfitters, will talk about how her family took their fourth-generation cattle operation and developed an agritourism business. She will describe how they used the assets of the ranch's natural beauty to provide recreational activities for people to enjoy such as hunting, bird watching, horseback riding, and river adventures. Sue Anne will also discuss the changes her family had to make in their operation;including the economics, marketing and the challenges they faced. Bringing a Family Member into the Farm or Ranch Operation: A panel of young farmers and ranchers will share their experiences of how they returned to the family farm or ranch operation. Western Nebraska Grape Production: From the vineyard to the Winery: Jim Schild, Extension Educator, Scotts Bluff County, and Allen Gall, Prairie Vine Vineyards, will discuss how grapes can be grown in our challenging Nebraskaclimate.

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