November 7th, 2016 – On October 22nd High Desert Conservation District hosted the 2nd Annual Southwest Agricultural Seminar. The presentations provided a wide variety of information on subjects including conservation easements, innovative farm practices, cover crops, and noxious weed management in Montezuma County. Dr. Abdel Berrada, Principal Investigator for the Western SARE dryland cover crops project, presented the latest information for the project.
Links to all of the presentations and to associated websites are provided below, along with information about the presenters/projects.
Montezuma Land Conservancy – Jon Leibowitz – Jon is the Executive Director of the Montezuma Land Conservancy, and has worked for MLC since 2012. The conservancy’s mission is to, “permanently protect important open lands in partnership with landowners, in order to conserve agricultural, natural, and scenic open space resources in and around Montezuma and Dolores Counties. We accomplish our mission by working cooperatively with landowners in a non-regulatory manner.” For more information about Montezuma Land Conservancy, please visit their website. To view a pdf version of Jon’s Southwest Agricultural Seminar presentation, Click Here.
Rockey Farms, LLC – Brendon Rockey – Brendon Rockey is a third generation farmer in Colorado. Brendon’s approach focuses on life. On his 500-acre farm, biological inputs like companion crops, animals, cover crops and flowers replace synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides. His system sustains yields, has greater water efficiency and it supports a flourishing ecosystem encouraging beneficial insects, soil microbes and carbon cycling. In addition to managing the farms’ annual potato crop, he grows with his brother, Sheldon, quinoa, flax and lentils. He also welcomes bees and livestock into his ever evolving biotic farming system. Rockey Farms also produces year-round certified seed in a greenhouse using a flowering companion crops for insect management. Rockey Farms was awarded the 2014 National Potato Council Environmental Stewardship Award and the 2011 Colorado Association of Conservation Districts Farming Division Conservationist of the Year Award for its practices. Brendon has also been individually honored for his innovative ideas and dedication to education. For more information about Rockey Farms visit their facebook page. To view a previous presentation that Brendon gave at Oregon State University, click on the following links: Bringing life back into farming – Part 1 and Bringing life back into farming – Part 2.
Western SARE Dryland Cover Crops Project – Dr. Abdel Berrada – Cover crops have been shown to increase soil biological diversity, reduce soil erosion, enhance soil fertility, suppress weeds, and may also provide quality forage as a value-added component to conventional production systems. These benefits are attainable in humid and irrigated environments, but there is little information for dryland cropping systems. The main goal of this project is to determine how cover crops can enhance the sustainability of dryland farming on the Colorado Plateau. The research will be conducted in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah where dryland crop production is practiced at relatively high elevations, soils have low organic matter, and where annual precipitation averages 10 to 16 inches. To view the presentation Click Here.
High Desert Conservation District Cover Crop Trials – Travis Custer – The High Desert Conservation District received funding from a matching grant with the Colorado State Conservation Board in order to implement four cover crop trials in the area. The goal of the trials is to determine how cover crops can be used to resolve resource concerns, such as poor soil health, physical soil loss, nutrient management, increased forage opportunities, and weed suppression. Overall, one goal of the High Desert Conservation District is working towards increasing education and cover crop trials in Montezuma County. For more information on the High Desert Conservation District, please visit their website. To view the presentation Click Here.
Montezuma County Noxious Weed Program – Bonnie Loving – The mission of Montezuma County Noxious Weed Program is to educate county residents, property owners, and managers to be responsible stewards of the land and resources of Montezuma County by protecting and preserving all lands and natural resources of the county from the degrading impact of invasive noxious weeds. The Noxious Weed Program works with and coordinates between individual landowners, state and federal agencies, and neighboring counties to resolve noxious weed issues in Montezuma County. For more information on the Montezuma County Noxious Weed Program, please visit their website. To view the presentation Click Here.