Becky Finfrock

Feb 10, 2014  |  Today's News

The Illinois Department of Agriculture is sponsoring a series of one-day seminars this winter to provide farmers the latest information about soil conservation practices.

Seminars will be held Feb. 27 at the Holiday Inn Convention Center in Mt. Vernon and March 13 at Heartland Community College in Normal.

Each seminar has its own agenda.  However, all three will include sessions about cover crops and feature a taped introductory segment with Howard G. Buffett explaining his personal experience using cover crops on his Illinois farm.   Buffett is the CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private family foundation working to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations.    

“These seminars provide a significant opportunity for agricultural producers and others to gain valuable information on the numerous environmental and economic benefits of cover crops,” Steve Chard, Acting Bureau Chief of Land and Water Resources, said.

Cover crops are plants, typically grasses or legumes, seeded into farm fields either within or outside of the regular growing season.  Research suggests they have a significant competitive advantage compared to the more traditional management practices that have been used to control soil erosion and nutrient run-off and also may offer production benefits.  A recent survey of Midwestern farmers by USDA’s Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program revealed higher corn and soybean yields in fields where cover crops had been planted. The differences were significant, too, 10 percent for corn and 12 percent for beans. 

The seminars will be held from 8:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. The cost is $20 per person.  To register, simply go online to the Champaign County Soil and Water Conservation District website at and click the CCS logo.

In addition to the Illinois Department of Agriculture, seminar coordinators include the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, Illinois soil and water conservation districts, American Farmland Trust and Illinois Stewardship Alliance.

Illinois Conservation Cropping Seminars




Feb. 27

Holiday Inn Convention Center

222 Potomac Blvd.

Mt. Vernon, Ill.


Gary Albers

(618) 476-7230

March 13

Heartland Community College

1500 W. Raab Rd.

Normal, Ill.

Joe Bybee

(815) 787-5480