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Fostering Sustainable Agriculture through Research, Education and Policy since 1984

Cover Crop Field Day

Over 100 people showed up for a cover crops farm tour Monday, October 9, held on farms in Iowa County’s Uplands Watershed group, which MFAI sponsors. “I learned more today than at any event I can remember,” one workshop attendee told us. Whether it was the stunning morning sun backlighting John Middleton as he described the complex crop rotations and cover crop schemes at Fazenda Boa Terra, an organic produce farm, or the hogs grunting happilyin the background as Michael Dolan described his challenges and successes with inter-seeding red clover into corn, or the late morning breeze cooling us as Scott Mericka showed us his irrigation system and described how cover crops fit into his pasture rotation – it was magical.

It didn’t hurt that the great farmer presentations were followed by a delicious lunch of Gulf shrimp, cole slaw (with veggies from Fazenda Boa Terra), local brats, chips, and organic apple cake. And the shrimp gave us one more chance to talk about why we care about nutrient management – since the waters from these farms flow into the Wisconsin River, on to the Mississippi, and travel directly down to the Gulf. “This group of farmers is the best, and they have superb support from Extension, our county conservation office, and others. We hope that serving great food adds an extra ingredient to help us build the community we need to support farmers as they undertake the best possible farming practices,” said Margaret Krome, MFAI’s Policy Director.

Touring Fazenda Boa Terra farm.

John Middleton describing his soybean-sorghum-sun-hemp cover crop.

Michael Dolan next to his corn, showing his red clover cover crop inter-seeded into corn.

Uplands Cheese dairy farmer Scott Mericka talking about his pasture rotation.