University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension is hosting a Sustainable Ag Crops and Livestock Conference on improving soil health through cover crops and crop diversity this Saturday in Ogallala.
Cover crops and soil health, field peas, cropping practices’ effects on insects, alternative enterprises and a program for women in ag are among the sessions planned for the eighth annual conference.
It will run from 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mid-Plains Community College Ogallala Extended Campus, 512 East B St. South.
Keynote speaker Keith Berns, co-owner and operator of Green Cover Seed, will discuss “Seven Things I Have Learned about Soil Health.”
Berns combines 17 years of no-till farming with 10 years of teaching agriculture and computers. He grows irrigated and dryland corn, soybeans, rye, triticale, sunflowers, peas and buckwheat on his 2,500-acre no-till farm in south central Nebraska.
Berns was awarded a grant in 2008 to try cover crops. This led to helping neighbors locate cover crop seed and eventually grew into a family business, Green Cover Seeds.
Through Green Cover Seed, one of the major cover crop seed providers and educators in the United States, Berns has experimented with over 80 different cover crop types and hundreds of mixes planted into various situations, learning about cover crop growth, nitrogen fixation, moisture usage, and grazing utilization of cover crops.
Berns also developed the SmartMix CalculatorTM, one of the most widely used cover crop selection tools on the internet.
He has a master’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Nebraska and teaches on cover crops and soil health more than 20 times per year to various groups and audiences.
For more information about the conference and to register, contact UNL Extension Educator Karen DeBoer at (308) 254-4455 or email
Lunch will be provided by the Open Range Grill. Walk-ins are welcome. However, the meal is not guaranteed unless pre-registration is received. The cost is $35 per person.
A conference brochure is available at ckb.unl.edu.