CTIC Member Mail June 2019
Registration Is Open for Aug 20-21 CTIC Conservation in Action Tour in Iowa
Online registration is open for CTIC's 12th annual Conservation In Action Tour, which will include a packed program of farm visits, facility tours, informative presentations and an up-close look at real-world conservation practices in central Iowa on August 20-21. The Conservation at the Leading Edge tour will begin the afternoon of Tuesday, August 20, with a keynote speaker and social reception at the beautiful World Food Prize Hall of Laureates in downtown Des Moines.
Click here for a video invitation to the tour.
OpTIS Data for Indiana Available; More States' Data Coming Soon
A massive new data set chronicling residue management and winter cover crop use in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana from 2005 through 2018 is now in the final stages of preparation for release on CTIC's website. The resource—the Operational Tillage Information System, or OpTIS—uses publicly available remote sensing data to monitor the adoption of no-till, conservation tillage, and winter cover crops. Data covering the rest of the Corn Belt, extending from eastern Ohio to eastern Kansas and Nebraska and from the Missouri Bootheel to the Red River Valley of North Dakota, will be available in the next few weeks.
Analyzing satellite images of the landscape through software developed by Applied GeoSolutions, OpTIS automatically identifies and quantifies various types of tillage and cover crop systems. Although the source data is captured at a resolution of 30 meters and tables are accurate to the acre, OpTIS ensures grower privacy by reporting and mapping at the USDA crop reporting district or HUC 8 watershed scale.
CTIC Welcomes Mike Komp As Executive Director
Mike Komp has joined CTIC as executive director, bringing his experience in geographic information systems, data analysis, program development skills, and coalition building to the organization.
"Mike brings skills that reflect not only the legacy of CTIC but also the technical knowledge that will help guide our organization into the future," says CTIC board chair Terry Tindall of JR Simplot.
Soil and Water Conservation Society To Host Field Day August 1 in Greensburg, Indiana
Crop Adviser Survey Helps CTIC Set A Course for Future Training
A recent survey of more than 800 certified crop advisers (CCAs) by the American Society of Agronomy and CTIC is yielding insight into the training needs of consultants.
"The survey illustrates a strong interest among CCAs for information on conservation, particularly the details on drainage water management, identifying the best on-farm conservation practices, and communicating their benefits," notes project director Mike Smith at CTIC.
Smith says CTIC and the CCA program will use the survey data to develop training programs that strengthen the role of crop advisers in helping farmers select and implement conservation systems.
Through a collaborative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), CTIC has conducted conservation workshops for crop advisers over the past year. The CTIC website features full-length videos of presentations from Arkansas and Iowa for online viewing.
Parting Thoughts on the Future of Conservation Agriculture
David Gustafson, departing interim executive director, CTIC
The good news is that practices like cover crops and continuous no-till have tremendous potential to deliver a future of improved soil and water conservation outcomes. But the bad news is that this future is now imperiled by rising levels of aggressive litigation targeted against agriculture, such as (1) the 2015 Des Moines Water Works lawsuit (eventually dismissed in 2017 after two years of costly legal wrangling); (2) a March 2019 lawsuit against the State of Iowa brought by two activist organizations and a bevy of California-led lawyers; and (3) the on-going circus of anti-glyphosate litigation occurring in California.
It’s especially confusing and disheartening to see this explosion in costly and unproductive litigation.