BROKEN BOW—Change is never easy. Whether it is about comfort or tradition, straying from what we have always done is daunting. However, western Oklahoma farmer and rancher Jimmy Emmons encourages ag producers to learn more about converting from traditional tillage to no-till farming, improving soil health, and using cover crop systems.
Arrow Seed‘s third annual Soil Health Conference welcomed more than 80 people during the various sessions of expert guest speakers on Wednesday, March 4.
The annual event took place at the one Box Convention Center in Broken Bow and featured Jimmy Emmons, Candy Thomas, Jake Miller, Aaron Hird, Tim Schaff, a producer panel, and Rich Russell. According to the Noble Research Institute, Emmons is known as a soil health champion across the United States. The Dewey County native is a proponent of no-till, cover crops, and other practices that support the biology of the soil.
KCNI/KBBN asked Emmons about why no-till is important to ag producers and he said after years of heavy tillage, many farmers have lost some of the soil’s organic matter, such as carbon. He added that due to a loss in organic matter, water infiltration rates have also been hurt.
“The reason it’s so important is we have water quality issues down streams, in the gulf, and all major streams, lakes. That’s from heavy tillage and heavy water and wind erosion and what no-till does is gives us the ability to stop the sediment from moving and the nutrients because when you really think about it when we spread fertilizers and chemicals on top of the ground, we get a big rainfall event, we have a lot of runoff that moves with it,” Emmons said.
During last week’s conference Emmons focused his message on commitment, patience, support, and playing the long game when it comes to improving the health of an operation’s soil. Emmons added that throughout the last 10 years the nation has seen an increased rate of cover crop systems of 25 to 33%.
Emmons talked about getting back to the basics of agriculture and letting the land, biology, and the ground to create nutrients the way it was designed.
Deb Girardin told KCNI/KBBN Arrow Seed is committed to improving soil health and are always researching and developing new cover crop mixes that are the most beneficial to producers for their next crop planted.
Jimmy Emmons ended his presentation by saying ag producers have a long way to go but hopes everyone will continue to try new things and learn from each other.
“Through meetings like this we can share from one another and we really learn from one another better than any other source,” Emmons said.