NACD Promotes Soil Health Economic Benefits at Commodity Classic

NACD Second Vice President Michael Crowder and CEO Jeremy Peters participated in the Commodity Classic Feb. 27 - March 1 in Anaheim, Calif. The annual event draws thousands of corn, soybean, wheat and sorghum farmers from across the nation to hear the latest updates on issues ranging from commodity prices and international trade to new technologies and soil health.

Crowder and Peters conducted outreach on soil health, distributing and discussing the set of soil health case studies recently published by NACD and Datu Research on the economic benefits of soil health practices. Attendees also received information on conservation districts and conservation planning, as well as information on NACD’s Soil Health Champions Network.

Crowder and Peters also attended The Fertilizer Institute’s annual recognition of 4R Advocates at Commodity Classic, which included NACD Past President Earl Garber from Crowley, La. During their time in California, Crowder and Peters had the opportunity to meet with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue (pictured) to continue ongoing dialogue regarding reorganization efforts at USDA.

NACD attends
state meetings

Last week, the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts (OFSWCD) met for their annual meeting and celebrated the 75th anniversary of the association with the slogan "From Dust to Diamonds." NACD President-elect Tim Palmer was in attendance and participated on a “Conservation – Past, Present and Future” panel, where he discussed potential strategies for conservation as we look forward.

Pictured here from left to right: Kirk Hines, chief of the Ohio Soil and Water Conservation Division; Harold Neuenschwander, OFSWCD president; Matt Peart, OFSWCD second vice president and NACD board member; Mindy Bankey, OFSWCD CEO; Kris Swartz, OFSWCD’s immediate past president and NACD alternate board member; NACD President-elect Tim Palmer; Terry Cosby, NRCS state conservationist; Steve Robinson, NACD past president; Bob Short, OFSWCD president-elect.

Last Tuesday, NACD President Brent Van Dyke traveled to Texas, where he served as the keynote speaker for the district director training workshop. NACD Director of Government Affairs Coleman Garrison joined the Tennessee Association of Conservation Districts at their annual meeting in Jackson, Tenn. Garrison was joined by Rhedona Rose, executive vice president for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, on a Farm Bill panel where they discussed their outlook on the next farm bill as well as their perspectives on other policy issues that are relevant to agriculture and conservation districts.

Keith and Brian Berns, Bladen, Nebraska

As brothers, Keith and Brian Berns have been farming in south central Nebraska all their lives. Together, the pair has started a family-owned business, Green Cover Seed, a major cover crop seed provider that incorporates education into their business plan. Through Green Cover Seed, they’ve been able to share the benefits of cover crops and no-till farming with others across the nation.

The Berns’ crops have expanded over time from a corn-bean and wheat operation to include sunflowers, peas, buckwheat, vetch, okra, rye, barley and triticale on 2,500 acres. Today, the Berns brothers are a 100 percent no-till operation, and after integrating cover crops in 2008, they’ve increased their fields’ organic matter substantially.

Keith shared with NACD that it hasn’t all been smooth sailing, but he says they are learning as they go and make the necessary adjustments. Moisture management has been a key consideration in their operation. “Knowing how much moisture to invest in cover crops and soil health without putting the cash crop at risk is a critical management decision every spring,” Keith said.

On March 29, Keith will present an NACD Soil Health Champions Network webinar entitled “Carbonics” – sharing how the soil ecosystem functions similarly to the economy of a country. The webinar will be provided live for members of NACD’s Soil Health Champions Network, and an archived recording will be added to our webinar library online.

Keith and Brian have made available the Green Cover Seed Soil Health Education and Reference Guide, which contains articles and information from “some of the best minds in the Regenerative Agriculture Movement.” Contact Keith directly for a free hard copy by emailing him at

To read more about Keith and Brian's soil health outreach efforts, visit their profile on NACD's website. If you or someone you know is interested in soil health and would like to become a member of NACD's Soil Health Champions Network, please contact NACD North Central Region Representative Beth Mason at or 317-946-4463 for more information.

This email was sent to If you are having trouble viewing this email, you may also view it online. To opt out of all communications, click here.
Forward email. .
Email Marketing By