Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

Agriculture

September 14, 2013

Wenning farm hosts soil specialists Experts discuss cover crops, farming's future

(Continued)

Hardisty also complimented her fellow attendees saying part of Indiana’s recognition as the national leader in the soil health movement is due to the soil specialists’ ability to keep the state “on the leading edge in innovation,” and helping Hoosier farmers get the most out of their land.

“They know the best use of their soil,” Hardisty said. “They understand the value of our Indiana soil.”

The group had the opportunity to see some of that prized soil firsthand via a morning tour by Wenning. Among those on that tour was Dr. Hans Kok of Conservation Cropping Systems Indiana who later told the Daily News that Roger’s approach to farming and conservation is “the future” of soil sustainability.

Wenning cited his use of cover crops as a means of retaining moisture, nutrients and organic material for his soil, which he tends to each year using the no-till method. This process has allowed Wenning to spend less on pesticides and fertilizer while helping ensure his fields will have bountiful harvests far in the future.

Wenning and Kok cautioned that many farmers today are engaged in practices that will bring financial returns now at the cost of decreased soil sustainability later. It takes more than a millennium for depleted soil to again become fertile, Kok mentioned, meaning that changes in farming techniques are becoming more of a necessity now than ever before. Wenning added that an ever-growing world population cannot hope that science alone will solve the problems of feeding billions, and he said that a future wherein the United States is dependent upon other countries for food is a scenario no American farmer should wish to see.

But Dr. Kok and Wenning mentioned that Roger’s practices stem from trying techniques that may be too financially risky for some farmers. Kok, specifically, urged others to speak with Wenning and other farmers like him before diving into new processes.

“I would encourage them (other farmers) to make connections,” Kok said.” They should find out what Roger did and what is so exciting about it.”

Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056

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