Allison Farm Field Day: An Annual Opportunity for Learning

[voiceover audio] Ron Peters: I’ve been here probably four times at least. [Text on screen] WIU School of Agriculture Annual Allison Organic & Demonstration Farm Field Day [Music in background] Ron Peters: There is always something interesting every year. [voiceover audio] Ron Peters: So it’s always good to come and learn some stuff. [Text on screen] 2012 WIU Allison Farm Field Day, Sat. Aug. 11, Precision in Organic Agriculture, Jacob Bolson, Keynote Speaker, Ag Engineer and Precision Ag Specialist [voiceover audio] Ron Peters: Because we are interested in the long-term stewardship of the land. [voiceover audio] Ron Peters: All of us agree that we learned some things that we can take home and immediately put into practice on our farm. Steve Groff: I’m here at the Allison Farm, for one of their Field Days, to talk about cover crops, mainly. And also, kind of an added component is help farmers and encourage them to do some of their own research, to try some new things, particularly in cover crops. I got interested in cover crops probably, I’d say, 15 years ago. I always had used some, wherever it kind of suited and worked and so forth. But I became intentional about it when I started realizing the benefits they had to offer. In my case it was erosion control. And that was pretty much the only reason… To keep the soil from eroding off the fields. But I soon realized that I saw differences in the soil. And saw what the cover crops do. I started out just using cereal rye, which is still widely used. It’s very easy to use. But over the years, we started looking at other cover crops. One of them is the Tillage Radish, which seems to be creating a lot of interest, because it helps increase yields and so forth. You see a difference in the soil. And the legumes actually put nitrogen in the soil to save on nitrogen fertilizer. All that has helped fuel the fire to continue researching and using cover crops Joel Gruver [speaking to Allison Farm Field Day audience]: … developed over the last 20 years. And there is some indication that… [voiceover audio] Steve Groff: I’ve know Dr. Joel Gruver since 1996, when he was a grad student at the University of Maryland. He worked on my farm on some cover crop projects they were doing. We have kept in touch for all those years. Actually, now, some of the cover crop research that I’m doing, I’m partnering with WIU in some of that. So we have a long term and active connection up to this day. So it was just kind of natural to get me out here to be able to talk about some things I’ve learned that, maybe, can be useful in this part of the country. Ron Peters: It’s not always the same. Sometimes the emphasis will be on something different. [voiceover audio] Ron Peters: But just the fact you eat lunch with somebody from another part of the state… Just visiting with people who have had experience, that you can say, ‘Okay, I am not alone in this.’ ‘I can do this because somebody else has tried it and it works.’ [Text on screen]: Rocky Purple and Gold Popcorn Produced at the Allison Organic Farm [voiceover audio] Ron Peters: The big thing is that Western Illinois University is so close to us, only 30 miles away, that a lot of people just sort of take it for granted. They may know a student who comes here to go to school, but they don’t really think about accessing the people, like Joel and Andy and others, in the department who can be of assistance to us who are actually farmers. So I think that has been a very good benefit of things like this. We get to meet people. They know us when they see us, and we know them. And you have a relationship that you build over the years. [Music in background] [Text on screen] 2012 WIU Allison Farm Field Day, Precision in Organic Agriculture Learn more at

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