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Presenters

This event, made possible by the New York State Interagency Soil Health Working Group, New York Soil Health Initiative, and Empire Farm Days, is for farmers, researchers, agriculture service providers, home gardeners, and others interested in advancing soil health efforts across the state.

John Wallace

Assistant Professor of Weed Science at Penn State

John Wallace is an Assistant Professor of Weed Science at Penn State. He will discuss his team’s cover crop interseeding research and future directions of this practice. Wallace conducts cutting edge sustainable cropping systems research aimed at developing cover cropping strategies to manage weeds in full- and reduced- tillage systems. He also specializes in finding cover crops and other solutions to managing herbicide-resistant weeds. 

John Wallace received his degrees from Penn State and University of Idaho. After completing his Ph.D., he rejoined Penn State as a Post-doc under Bill Curran, a well-respected Agronomist and Weed Scientist (2014-2017). John Wallace then served as the Specialty Crop Systems Specialist at Cornell University for a short period before returning to Penn State to his current position.

10:00AM | Keynote on Wednesday, July 29

Jennifer Moore-Kucera

Climate Initiative Director, American Farmland Trust

Jennifer Moore-Kucera, Ph.D., leads the Farmers Combat Climate Change program at American Farmland Trust that focuses on regenerative agricultural practices, farmland protection, and clean, renewable energy. Moore-Kucera has been a leader in soil health research and outreach via previous positions in academia and the USDA. She will speak on the linkages between soil biology and soil health. Soil biology underpins many of the critical soil functions that we depend on in agriculture. 

 

Before joining AFT, she served as the Western Soil Health team leader with the NRCS Soil Health Division, where she developed curricula and helped trained NRCS and partner staff on soil health principles and practices. Before that, Moore-Kucera was an associate professor of soil and environmental microbiology at Texas Tech University. She holds a B.A. in biology and environmental studies from Binghamton University and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in soil science from Iowa State University and Oregon State University, respectively.

11:00AM | Keynote on Thursday, July 30

Jean-Paul Stewart-Courtens

Roxbury Agriculture Institute at Philia Farm

Jean-Paul Stewart-Courtens has dedicated much of his career educating the next generation of farmers. Stewart-Courtens will discuss his on-farm research and experience with reduced tillage and cover cropping on organic vegetable farms. He will share some of the lessons about what has worked and what hasn’t worked in his trials over the years.

A native of the Netherlands, he is a graduate of Warmonderhof, part of Groenhorst Agriculture College, specializing in biodynamic farming. He moved to the U.S. in 1986 and founded Roxbury Farm in 1990. In 2018 he and his wife Crystal founded Philia Farm in Johnstown, NY, to further education and research in regenerative agriculture. Jean-Paul was part of the original CRAFT (Collaborative Regional Alliance of Farmer Training) in 1995. He shared many resources on the Roxbury Agriculture Institute Website (known as the Farm Manuals) and taught numerous workshops at farming conferences. Between 2014 and 2017, Stewart-Courtens created the ProFarmer program at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Hurley, NY, an on-the-job training program to provide a path to farm-ownership. During this time, he guided the transition of their 1250-acre sweet corn operation to organic and biodynamic practices. Stewart-Courtens was recognized as Farmer of the Year by NOFA NY in January 2018.

10:00 am | Keynote on Friday, July 31

11:00 am | Panelist on Friday, July 31

Farmer Panel

Soil Health Practices in Dairy Systems

Forrest Watson is the Crop operations manager and fourth generation on the Mulligan Farm where they milk 1,250 cows. For the last five years he has been building a system of no-till, 100% covered soil year-round, while also utilizing dairy manure to meet fertility needs. The protection and improvement of the land that provides our livelihood is extremely important to the Mulligan family and everyone at Mulligan Farm.

Ryan Akin is the Forage, Nutrient, and Technology Manager at Hemdale Farms and Greenhouses of Seneca Castle, NY. This multi-family farm promotes the economic and environmental benefits of reduced tillage, cover crops and crop rotations. Hemdale has a dairy herd of 1,400 cows and grows roughly 3,000 acres of crops including corn, cabbage, alfalfa, wheat, and other specialty vegetable crops.

Jason Burroughs is the crop manager and a co-owner of Aurora Ridge Dairy where he manages 2,600 acres at their home farm and another 2,600 at a nearby farm. He grows corn silage, alfalfa, a wide range of cover crops to feed 2,300 cows at the home farm and an additional 2,000 cows at another location. Jason cares deeply about his soil health and local water quality. He has been following Cornell’s mass nutrient balance planning for over 30 years, has been cover cropping for over 20 years, and works to reduce tillage across his acres.

Janice Degni, Cortland County Cornell Cooperative Extension, will moderate the discussion.

11:00 am | Farmer Panel on Wednesday, July 29

Rod  Porter

King’s AgriSeeds Northern Regional Coordinator

With a farming background and many years of seed industry and agronomy experience, Rod offers seasoned expertise in the importance of properly managing crops and selecting high quality seed genetics which combined makes a world of difference in production. Currently residing with his family in Trumansburg, NY, Rod serves as the Northern Regional Coordinator for Kings AgriSeeds, assisting seed dealers and farmers with seed selection and agronomic technical support.  In addition, Rod manages an organic farming operation and Cayuga Ag Enterprises, Inc.

12:00 pm | Virtual Cover Crop Tour on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday (every day)

David Dum

Binkley & Hurst

For a majority of his career David Dum has been a planter specialist for Binkley & Hurst, a Case IH dealership in Lititz, PA.

10:00 am | Presentation on Thursday, July 30

Farmer Panel

Soil Health Practices on Organic Vegetable and Grain Crops

Jean-Paul Stewart-Courtens has dedicated much of his career educating the next generation of farmers. In 2018 he and his wife Crystal founded Philia Farm in Johnstown, NY, to further education and research in regenerative agriculture. Between 2014 and 2017, Jean-Paul created the ProFarmer program at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub in Hurley, NY, an on-the-job training program to provide a path to farm-ownership. During this time, he guided the transition of their 1250-acre sweet corn operation to organic and biodynamic practices.

Aaron Munzer and Kara Cusolito own and operate Plowbreak Farm in Schuyler County, New York. Since 2012, they have been feeding the community in a thirty-mile radius around the farm, which sits atop the hills of Seneca Lake. Aaron and Kara harvest vegetables from forty acres (seven in cultivation) and seven high tunnels. They do not spray synthetic pesticides, herbicides, or fungicides, and work to promote healthy soils and a thriving ecosystem with cover cropping, habitat planting, compost-based fertility, and reduced tillage.

Josh Jurs is crops team manager at Kreher Family Farms, with nearly 6,000 acres of organic cropland. The farm produces organic and conventional grains for its egg operation and grows several vegetable crops for local processing. Josh is currently updating his cover crop program to incorporate different species to build soil health, reduce erosion, and suppress weeds.

Rick Pedersen, along with his wife, Laura, is the owner of Pedersen Farms in Ontario County, New York. Rick produces organic vegetables and grain on 630 acres of certified organic land, 270 acres transitional land, and 100 acres conventional land. His primary market is fresh market vegetable production. The Pedersen’s try to keep cover crops on all acres, use a range of tillage strategies to match crop and soil conditions, and inter-seed.

Crystal Stewart-Courtens, Fulton and Montgomery Counties Cornell Cooperative Extension, will moderate the discussion.

11:00 am | Farmer Panel on Friday, July 31

 

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