Illinois Council on Best Management Practices (CBMP) announced the continuation of its cover crop training program for 2015. The program, funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) and the Nutrient Research & Education Council (NREC), serves as a resource for farmers considering cover crops as a best management practice (BMP). Four regional Cover Crop Specialists will help promote the use of cover crops for nutrient management in production agriculture in Illinois.
During the program’s first year, Cover Crop Specialists were engaged in training programs, outreach events, establishing cover crop demonstration sites and research plots. Further, they incorporated cover crop lessons into Community College curriculums and worked with both government and non-government agencies to encourage farmers statewide to incorporate cover crops into their farming operations.
“The impact of this program has been significant in starting to establish a strong network of specialists and trained individuals who are spreading knowledge about cover crops,” said Jennifer Tirey, executive director, Illinois Council on Best Management Practices. “The training program helps farmers identify and understand another best management tool that might work for them. As we enter year two of the program, expect to see more outreach opportunities and on-farm demonstrations so that farmers can get information first-hand from others implementing these practices.”
Pete Fandel, Associate Professor in Agriculture at Illinois Central College in East Peoria, has played a key role in planning and organizing the training sessions at ICC, establishing demonstration plots on campus as well as demonstrations sites on his own farm and various research trials in the Peoria area. Fandel engages his students both in the classroom and in the field to teach the important role of cover crops in production agriculture.
Dean Oswald spent 34 years with University of Illinois Extension working as an Agriculture Adviser and an Animal Systems Educator. After retiring he worked as a Forage / Grazing Specialist with Midwest Grass & Forage in Macomb and is a Certified Forage and Grassland Professional with the American Forage and Grassland Council. Oswald will assist with training, education and outreach activities in the northern part of the state, discussing the benefits of cover crops and related nutrient cycling. He is cooperating with NRCS, university extension, community colleges and other agricultural groups interested in cover crops and has developed cover crop plots as well as educational training sessions for farmers, livestock producers and the agricultural community covering the selection, management, grazing and termination of cover crops.
Richard Lyons has over 15 years of no-till production experience and three years in planting cover crops. Lyons taught agriculture and agronomy classes for more than 30 years and led the Lincoln Land College Agriculture program. He farms 800 acres with his brother and has been active in the local watershed resource committee for Lake Springfield. One of Lyons’ primary focuses will be outreach to the NRCS District Conservationists in the south central region of the state.
Mike Plumer has 32 years of experience with cover crops and 37 years with conservation tillage. Plumer travels across the country and around the world conducting programming and research in cover crops and conservation to provide information and recommendations on using cover crops to improve crop production, soil health and water quality.
If you have specific questions about cover crops please email our cover crop specialists or visit CBMP’s You Tube channel for cover crop information.
Richard Lyons Mike Plumer
You may also mail your questions to:
Illinois Council on Best Management Practices
PO Box 6317
Bloomington, IL 61702