On Tuesday, July 27, the Warrick County Soil and Water Conservation District will be hosting a field day to assist attendees in better understanding and utilizing cover crops. The event will be held at Rudolph Farms at 187 South Yankeetown Road in Boonville from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. This is the first event of its kind to be hosted by the Soil and Water Conservation District in Warrick County. Cover crops are crops planted in fields that are not meant to be harvested but instead promote soil health and biodiversity, as well as suppress weed growth.

The Soil and Water Conservation District is a governmental organization that was founded in the 1930s following the Dust Bowl. Its goal is to promote environmental health and preservation of natural resources, particularly for agricultural purposes. Every county in the United States has one and they have been in Southern Indiana for decades now, with Vanderburgh County’s being among the first in Indiana. The organization comprises a five member board, generally farmers, business people, elected officials and anyone else with a concern for the natural preservation of the area.

“We are able to make a lot of changes and do a lot of good locally,” Holly McCutchen, executive director of Warrick County’s district, said. “Sometimes the work that we do pushes other counties to improve as well. We share information and spread awareness about natural resource conservation, and we spend a lot of time pursuing grants. We recently received a grant for water to prevent overgrazing. We use the money to pay for movable fencing to preserve different parts of a pasture and provide better irrigation. We do both urban and rural work in the county. Education is big and we do both adult and children’s education programs.”

According to McCutchen, the goal of the field day is to help with cover crops.

“They are hard to establish and can be difficult to remove to plant your primary crops...We are going to dig soil pits to show how cover crops interact with soil,” McCutchen said. “We will provide a soil health trailer. Our goal is to educate. There will be difficulties and setbacks with cover crops so it is important to provide information about them.”

The event will also feature guest speaking from John Pike of Pike Ag as well as Travis Gogel, an NRCS Soil Scientist.

The district’s current plan is to make this an annual event, as they are trying to focus more on public outreach and education in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The district is also planning to hold a cover crop loyalty contest as a way to provide more personal information on how to plant cover crops for individual participants. McCutchen said that the district is hoping for the field day to be attended by people from across Warrick County who are interested in the success of cover crops.

Those who wish to register for attendance can email susan.king@in.nacdnet.net or call 812-897-2840 x3.

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