$30 – $150

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$30 – $150

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Phillips County Event Center

22505 US Hwy 385

Holyoke, CO 80734

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Refunds up to 1 day before event

Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

Event description
Whether you wonder what the fuss is all about or have a long history with soil, there is something for everyone. Curious? Come the 1st day

About this event

(Full speaker bios are available below the local information section)

Wednesday February 16 –

Everything starts with the soil. Is there really a positive difference in how farmed and non-farmed soils behave? See for yourself. Candy Thomas will open the discussion with several demonstrations including tests you can easily do in your fields. She’ll explain what is happening in the soil and how these changes impact water infiltration, rooting depth, fertility, and plant health.

It's not easy to change how you do things. Our farmer speakers will share what made them decide to stop doing what came easily and venture into the unknown. What were the challenges? What failures did they face? What changes did they see early on to inspire them to continue to operate differently?

Brice Custer hails from near Hays, KS, where he, his wife and two young boys operate Custer Farms LLC. He first tried out cover crops in 2008 and has transitioned all 3400 acres to a rotation with cover crops and minimal wheat. Why did he made these cropping changes and what the challenges and benefits has he has seen as a result? Come hear Brice's insights into "How to Not Lose Your Keester Farming".

A familiar name in the world of soil testing is Ward Laboratory. Ray Ward is to help production agriculture use its resources as efficiently as possible. He strives to provide information and data for the best use of soil and water resources while maintaining environmental quality. He will help answer the questions “What Soil Health Tests Do I Need” and “What Do Those Numbers Tell Me?”

Growing multi-species forage crops under irrigation has provided a much-needed feed source for South Dakota producer Shawn Freeland. Adopting No-Till in 2016, Shawn now doesn't use any synthetic fertilizers and has sold his hay equipment. Always asking himself 'how can I improve my soil' has taken him on a journey of decreasing inputs and increasing yields. Shawn will share how he has put “Profitable, Farming and Livestock” in the same sentence.

Thursday February 17 -

Nick Vos was born in South Africa where he grew up on a vegetable farm. As a proud American Citizen, Nick, his wife and 2 daughters reside outside Hugoton, Kansas. This First-Generation American Farmer is growing corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, and companion crops. In his engaging, unique style, Nick will share his successes and struggles making No-Till and cover crops work in an area that became famous as “The Dust Bowl".

Raising 13 marketable crops, diversification is abundant on the Roy Pfaltzgraff farm. Located south of Haxtun, CO, the 2000-acre dryland farm started a simple No-Till system in the 1980's. Five decades later, the system is far more advanced though minimal commercial chemicals and fertilizers are still used. Roy feels one of the greatest benefits is the farm produces average yields in drought years with no loss in quality. It can also handle the frequent extreme weather events. Roy will share how he and his wife, Barb, “Market Non-Traditional Crops”.

Jay Young and his family raise corn, wheat, milo, a mixture of covers, oats and beardless triticale near Tribune, KS. He introduced cover and companion crops in 2016 and started living his dream of raising cattle in an area with limited grassland. A bonus benefit: the water intake rate on his fields has improved dramatically. Jay will share his journey with “Cover Crops, Grazing and Compost”.

As always at Farming Evolution, there will be a speaker panel session for more in depth questions and discussion. Exhibitors/vendors will also be in the same room as the presentation. They will have 60 seconds at the beginning of the program to speak to the audience.

New this year: bring your smartphones, if you have one. You can submit a question during the presentations and participate in fun and informative activities - and you can remain anonymous if you prefer! (Don’t worry if you aren’t smartphone savvy, we’ll help you and have paper options available.)

If you prefer to not register with a credit card, simply scroll down on the payment page to see Pay by Check instructions.

Organizers of conference: Haxtun, Morgan, & Yuma County, Conservation Districts, Upper Republican Natural Resource District and NRCS

Major Sponsors of conference: Above listed organizers, Arrow Seed, Green Cover Seed, West Greeley CD, Colorado Association of Conservation Districts, and Colorado State Conservation Board.

 Lodging Options in Holyoke, all are located along Hwy 385.

The Burge Hotel (Historic Building) 970-854-2261 (north end of town)

Cobblestone Inn & Suites 970-854-3222 (south end of town)

Golden Plains Motel 970-854-3000 (south end of town)

Holyoke has a number of places to eat, most of which are locally owned and operated and offer a variety of food choices.  You will find First Dragon, Los Parras, Pizza at the Brew & Coffee Shop and Sara's Cuisine on Hwy 385 within 1 block north of the stoplight. The grocery store which has fried chicken and sides is east 1/2 block of Hwy 385.  South of the stoplight 1 block on highway 385 is Subway and at the very south end of town past Highline Electric is Blisties.  The Taqueria Hernandez is 1 block west on Highway 6.  East of the stoplight 1/2 block you'll find Texas style barbeque at Happy Jacks and 4 blocks east in a yellow building is Amanda's Mercado. Both the Kwik Stop and Ampride gas stations offer hot breakfast items.

Speaker Bios:

Candy Thomas: got her start with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Missouri in 1994. In 2013 she transferred to KS as the state agronomist and in 2015 became the regional soil health specialist for CO, KS and NE stationed in Salina. She also served as the library content manager for the NRCS Science and Training library which houses over 1000 webinars. Candy is now the Regional Soil Health Specialist in Salina, KS and covers the states: CO, IA, IL, KS, MO and NE. She & her husband have a cow/calf farm in Iowa where they also follow with chickens in a high-density stocking rotation.

Brice Custer: is the owner and operator of Custer Farms LLC along with his wife Shanon and two young boys in Hays Kansas. He started trying out cover crops in 2008 and within a few years he started to see the weed suppression and soil health improvement that the cover crops were providing. His predominant crop rotation now is wheat-milo-cover crop-fallow, but he also grows some oats and barley. To help with the workload and risk on certain fields, he substitutes the sorghum with corn. With the exception of harvest, he farms the 3,500 acres of dryland by himself. His cover crop mix may now include up to 12 species of cool- and warm-season grasses and broadleaves, including legumes. Since his closest field is about 40 miles away, he does not have a livestock enterprise, but he has leased some fields in cover crops to others for grazing on a limited basis.

Dr. Ray Ward: is president and co-owner of Ward Laboratories, Inc. He is a certified Professional Agronomist (CPAg), certified Soil Scientist (CPSS), and certified crop advisor (CCA). His goals for agriculture and agronomy are to help production agriculture use its resources as efficiently as possible, to provide information and data for developing soil health for the best use of soil and water resources while maintaining environmental quality, to be involved in “value-added” agriculture and to provide accurate laboratory data for managing productions enterprises.

Shawn Freeland: his wife Kristy and their two daughters live on their farm in Caputa where they run a cow/calf operation, stockers, direct market grass finished beef, as well as produce irrigated livestock forage. Shawn’s farm has been completely No-Till since 2016. He also utilizes cover crops, livestock grazing of cover crops, managed intensive grazing practices and no longer uses synthetic fertilizer. Shawn’s goals for the future of soil health on his operation and throughout South Dakota include: “Regenerating the soil, Minimizing erosion, Providing nutrient rich products to consumers, Assisting with community education and outreach, Holistically managing his operation, and Increasing both bio-diversity and drought resistance.

Nick Vos: was born in South Africa where he grew up on a vegetable farm in the Limpopo Province. Proud to currently be, not only an American Citizen, but also a First Generation American Farmer. Nick, his wife and 2 daughters reside outside Hugoton, Kansas, where they farm corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum and poly crops. He experimented with No Till first, then started using cover crops in 2010, when he was still part of another farming enterprise, mostly interested in the Daikon radish, and its scavenging ability to retrieve nutrients from their mostly sandy, low OM fields. Today, Nick & Johanna farms about 600 acres, he runs a seed business selling cover crops and traditional inputs, and his wife also incorporated a Dorper sheep herd into the farming part of the operation. Dopers are a hair sheep breed from South Africa, that are highly adaptable, and fits in nicely with their “dust bowl” climate.

Roy Pfaltzgraff: along with his wife Barb and his parents operate a 2000 acre dryland family farm, Pfaltzgraff Farms, LLC, south of Haxtun, CO. Roy's father has always had a pioneering vision and spirit, but he could never imagine the farm as it is now. Roy’s dad planted crops with no-till practices in the 80’s, but had thirteen crops last year. While continuing to use commercial chemicals and fertilizers, they have also created a diverse cropping rotation that minimizes these inputs at the same time maximizing the benefits from inter-cropping, increased soil health and biodiversity. The efforts have started to reap rewards, the farm is producing average yields in drought years with no loss in quality and is able to handle the extreme weather events that are becoming more frequent. Roy has been able to see improvements in the soil, the most notable is raising organic matter from the area's average of less than 1% to a farm average of 2.5%. He, along with Barb's help, has started direct marketing of some of the farm's products found on line and in farmer's markets along the Front Range of Colorado.

Jay Young: (Verdell Young & Sons) lives near Tribune, KS, where they farm corn, wheat, milo, a mixture of covers, oats and beardless triticale, and graze cattle on covers. Inspired by a YouTube video, they are transitioning from traditional tillage to a focus on soil health, integrating covers, companion covers, rotational grazing, and the BEAM approach using compost extract (biologically enhanced application methods). He's seeing promising results on the roots so far. The challenges they face include reducing tillage, a lack of moisture in their region, herbicide-resistant grasses, the expense of paying for cover seed, and the subsequent cash crop not being as profitable. He’d like to build a bioreactor if he had the time to work on it.

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Date and time

Location

Phillips County Event Center

22505 US Hwy 385

Holyoke, CO 80734

View Map

Refund policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

Eventbrite's fee is nonrefundable.

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