Agricultural producers and professionals learned strategies to improve soil health and boost farm success during the 20th annual Winter Conference hosted by No-till on the Plains at Salina’s Bicentennial Center Jan. 26-27.
The event attracted more than 1,000 attendees from across the United States and beyond, including international guests from Germany, Ireland, Australia, Canada, eastern Europe and Africa.
“Twenty years after our inaugural conference, it’s very encouraging to see that interest in implementing no-till practices is exploding,” said Ryan Speer, president of No-till on the Plains board of directors and producer from Sedgwick, Kan. “Producers and ag professionals are hungry for information and our organization has assembled some of the industry’s brightest minds to share their experiences and keys to success.”
The conference, themed “Celebrating Our History, Transforming Our Future,” featured a new format with three keynote speakers, a beginner’s session and rainfall simulator on Tuesday. Wednesday offered 23 breakout sessions and a closing keynote speaker. A two-day trade show featured 90 exhibitors and offered opportunities for participants to learn about the latest developments in the industry.
Keynote speakers discussed global issues in continuous no-till and food production and examined their effects at the producer level. Speakers included Terry Fleck, executive director for the Center for Food Integrity; Dr. Kofi Boa, director of Ghana’s Center for No-till Agriculture; Dr. Dwayne Beck, research manager for Dakota Lakes Research Farm; and Ray Archuleta, conservation agronomist and soil health specialist for the Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Breakout sessions covered topics including strategies for weed control, benefiting from insect cycles, integrating grazing, feeding soil with cover crops, discussing no-till with financial partners, managing soil fertility and much more. Producer panels provided practical insights on continuous no-till in low- and high-moisture climates, as well as on farms using irrigation.