Penn Soil Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D) Council announced that it will co-sponsor a soil health field day in Forest County on August 30, 2016. Penn State University and USDA NRCS plant and soil scientists will lead the workshop, at Wilson Land and Cattle Company. The event is open to the public. The day will start at 9:30 at the farm located at 1532 Stitzinger Road, Tionesta, PA 16353. The field day program has been approved for 2.5 Continuing Education Credits for PA Certified Nutrient Management Planners by the PA State Conservation Commission.
The Wilsons are a low input farm, using adaptive grazing management and innovative farming techniques, that include high stock density grazing, a diverse mix of both native and introduced forage species and stockpiled grazing which provides the operation up to 300 days of grazing per year. Russ Wilson intensely uses livestock to radically improve soil conditions, health and fertility with little external inputs doing so in a short amount of time. By focusing the farms efforts on the below ground soil life the operation has seen drastic improvements to forage quality, yield, and drought resistance.
The field day will focus on these improvements and will feature Dr. Sjoerd Duiker, from Penn State, who will demonstrate how multispecies cover crops, no-till and livestock are improving soil health. Dr. Jessica Williamson, Penn State Extension Forage Specialist, will offer guidance for dealing with bloat, nitrate toxicity and prussic acid poisoning when grazing cover crop fields. Susan Richards, Executive Director of Capital RC&D, will give an update on how the Conservation Innovation Grant Soil Health Initiative is allowing farmers to encourage others in adopting similar approaches. Mark Goodson, Agronomist with NRCS, will explain ways to improve nutrient use efficiency, build soil organic matter, and how you can have higher yielding pasture with fewer added inputs. Rounding out the speaker list is Tricia McIntire, Watershed Specialist with Clarion County Conservation District. She will highlight opportunities available to employ manure & nutrient management programs and explain how they can benefit you as a farmer.
The workshop is co-sponsored by Penn State Cooperative Extension, Capital RC&D, Penn Soil RC&D, Clarion and Forest County Conservation Districts, PA Grazing/Forage Lands Coalition and the USDA NRCS. There is a $10 fee for lunch and support materials. To register call Penn Soil RC&D at 814-726-1441 ext. 5, by August 22nd or register online at www.pennsoil.org . The day will consist of outdoor activities, please dress appropriately.