We had such a great turnout for the Farmers Breakfast! Thank you to our partners who helped put this event together. The Kosciusko and Whitley County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, and the Conservation Cropping System of Indiana (CCSI).
Forty-two (42) agricultural leaders from across northern Indiana participated in the event.
Breakfast was accompanied by three fantastic presentations. Jeff Dukes from Purdue Climate Change Center shared scientific research pertaining to Indiana’s climate, which has already changed in the last 100 years. Indiana’s annual temperatures are 1.2 degrees warmer and rain has increased by 4.8”. The frequency and intensity of rain events is of special concern. Open fields in the spring are receiving 42% more rain in a heavy downpour which leads to higher erosion and a 32-48% increase in tile drainage.
Stephanie McClain and Tony Bailey from NRCS followed his presentation. The duo spoke on soil health and conducted 3 demonstrations proving the absorption and resilience of healthy soils farmed with notill and cover crops.
Rick Clark, a Montgomery County farmer, pulled the two presentations together, sharing his story about farming “green” on 7,000 acres, and the tangible and quantifiable difference that a soil-health-forward approach to farming has helped his production.
The message attendees took home from the morning was that building soil health also builds resilience to the changing climate. The cover crops not only reduce the impact of heavy rain hitting the soil, but also help decrease runoff by securing soil with deep roots that retain nutrients and help later crops grow thick, strong roots.
This is especially important, as anticipated climate change impacts by 2050 include more heavy/high intensity rains in winter and spring, more drought in summer, and higher temperatures in summer for longer duration. As farmers face these difficult circumstances, it is more and more important to share the benefits of improving soil health as a whole unit.
We hope anyone interested will reach out to us and our conservation partners for assistance incorporating conservation on their farms!