A Greener Green Up Day

As my 9 year old daughter and I drove past a number of dairy farms in Addison County this spring day, she said, “Wow, that grass is so green, it doesn’t look real.”

“That grass is special,” I said, “It’s a cover crop.” We were looking at a beautiful stand of cereal rye, seeded in the fall following the silage corn harvest. Soon after snow melt, the rye fields green up–they break dormancy earlier than other cereals and quickly start producing.

Cereal rye in silage corn field.

Cereal rye in silage corn field.

Over the past few years, more and more farmers have adopted the practice of cover cropping as they realize the benefits that these crops can offer their farm fields, including protection of nutrient and soil resources, suppression of weeds, increased soil organic matter, and even extra feed for their livestock. University of Vermont Extension as well as a host of other organizations, including USDA NRCS, Vermont Agency of Agriculture FAP, and Vermont Association of Conservation Districts, among others, have been working with farmers to support the adoption of this practice. For example, both the UVM Extension Northwest Crops & Soils (NWCS) Program and UVM Extension Champlain Valley Crop, Soils & Pasture Program teams have been conducting research, conferences, and field days to increase our collective understanding of what and how to grow cover crops in our Vermont growing conditions. Out Croppings, a blog of the NWCS program is now dedicating its posts to cover cropping and other soil health topics.

As we prepare for Green Up Day here in Vermont the first weekend in May–a tradition our state alone has been practicing since the 1970s–it occurs to me that this year, and hopefully for many years to come, we’ll celebrate a greener Green Up Day, thanks for our farmers who cover crop!

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Farmer Perspectives Needed: Healthcare & Farm Businesses?

Researchers at the University of Vermont are seeking farmers to participate in listening sessions as part of a study on healthcare.

This study is looking at the ways healthcare costs impact farm business in the Northeast. It is intended to help develop policy that minimizes the challenges and maximizes the opportunities farm families face when making household-level decisions, such as healthcare.

The focus group will be Thursday, March 12, 2015 from 6 to 7:30 pm in Middlebury.

Participants must be farmers but no other knowledge or experience is needed.

RSVP for one or both sessions to Emily Stengel, 717-669-1666 or estengel@uvm.edu

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2015 Budget Clinics: Register Now

Pen, Calculator and LedgerUVM Extension Farm Business Specialists, Mark Cannella and Dennis Kauppila, are available to work one-on-one with farmers on their finances.

Bring your financial statements, records and questions for a 60- to 90-minute private meeting.

Sessions are available throughout March and at various locations around Vermont including Berlin, St. Albans, Middlebury, Bennington, St. Johnsbury, Newport, White River Junction, Brattleboro and Randolph.

Advance registration is required, and there is a $25 fee.

For more information and to register click here: https://www.regonline.com/builder/site/default.aspx?EventID=1675628

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