This report covers the Kerr Center’s decade of experience using walk-behind tractors in the Cannon Horticulture Project. It serves as both backgrounder and how-to manual.
December 21 is the deadline for farmers and ranchers to apply for funding from the current round of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).
EQIP provides financial and technical assistance to (among other things) establish habitat that benefits monarch butterflies and other wildlife.
Milkweed and other nectar-rich plants provide food for monarchs and other pollinators, such as honey bees, that are vital to agriculture.
Establishing and restoring native grasslands, with milkweed and other nectar-rich plants, within Oklahoma is critically important because the state falls within the heart of the butterfly’s habitat and migration corridor. Milkweed also provides homes for beneficial insects that control the spread of destructive insects.
Some management practices that can help establish monarch-friendly habitat – and are supported by the EQIP – include brush management, prescribed burning, prescribed grazing, and monarch plantings.
In addition to providing benefits for pollinators, many of these practices also help reduce erosion, increase soil health, control invasive species, provide quality forage for livestock, and make agricultural operations more resilient and productive.
Pollinator plantings can be placed along field borders, in buffers around waterways or wetlands, in pastures, and in other suitable locations.
NRCS accepts EQIP applications on a continuous basis, but only applications filed by Dec. 21 are eligible for the next round of funding through EQIP.
USDA is an equal opportunity employer, provider and lender. For more information about this (or any other) NRCS program, contact the nearest USDA field office. For more information specifically about the Monarch Butterfly Habitat Project or wildlife habitat assistance, you can also contact Dustin Lamoreaux of Pheasants Forever by email or phone (405-714-7893).
The 2019 Horticulture Industries Show will be held January 3–5 at the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The theme of the 38th Annual Show is “People, Plants and Pollinators.”
A free high tunnel workshop will be held the preceding day (Thursday, January 3) at the Arkansas Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Fayetteville at 1 PM. Though there is no charge for this workshop, registration is requested.
Keynote speaker Dr. Ray Moranz will kick off the educational sessions on Friday, January 4 at 9 AM. The title of his address is “What Pollinators Do For You … and …What You can Do to Save Pollinators in Arkansas and Oklahoma.”
Dr. Moranz is the Grazing Lands Pollinator Ecologist for the Xerces Society, an international non-profit organization that protects wildlife through the conservation of invertebrates and their habitat. Hired in September 2016, Ray also serves as a Partner Biologist for the USDA NRCS, and is based at the NRCS Field Office in Stillwater, Oklahoma. His current focus is assisting the NRCS with planning and implementation of pollinator (and especially monarch butterfly) conservation efforts in the central United States.
Following the keynote address the concurrent educational sessions will begin. These sessions will end at noon on Saturday, January 5. The topics for these sessions are: Vegetable, Master Gardeners/Public Gardens, Fruit, Local Foods, Organic/Sustainable and Christmas Trees.
Also, a trade show of exhibits representing the Horticulture industry will be available for participants to visit during the show.
The Chancellor Hotel is offering special rates for conference attendees. Reserve your hotel room no later than December 13th to receive the reduced rate for HIS. Register online, or call 479-442-5555 and request the HIS conference rate.
The HIS has consistently provided growers and the public with the latest information on vegetables, fruit, Christmas trees, farmers market crops and public gardening issues. The public and growers from Arkansas, Oklahoma and surrounding states are welcome to attend.
For more information or to register, visit the Horticulture Industries Show website.
Guided tours are available one day each month, on the second Tuesday of the month.
During these tours, Kerr Center staff show visitors our current horticulture and livestock projects.
Tours go from 9-11 or 1-3 (approximate length), and cost $10 per person.
Advance registration is required. Contact us a week in advance to let us know you are coming and whether you want to see horticulture or livestock projects or both.
Keep in mind that what is available to see varies according to season. When you call, we can let you know what is available to see. We want you to have the best possible experience!
Pay at the door. Tours begin at the Kerr Center office.
Click here for directions and map.
All other visits must be requested at least two weeks in advance. Groups are welcome.
Call the Kerr Center at 918.647.9123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with “tour request” in the subject line to arrange a visit.
Prescribed fire is a natural process in the Southern Great Plains, where the landscape evolved under fire and grazing. Fire can improve wildlife habitat, reduce woody plants, remove thatch, and improve forage quality and quantity for livestock.
During this course, you will learn about fire behavior and plant response to burning during the dormant season. You will also learn about prescribed burn plans, fireguards, weather parameters, equipment, labor and contingency plans among other topics.
The most important way to safely burn is to gain experience conducting burns. If weather parameters are within prescription during the field day, we will attempt multiple burns to give you real experience conducting prescribed fire management.
What You Will Learn:
- How weather impacts fire behavior
- How to manage fuel loads and types
- Laws and regulations for prescribed fire
- The type of equipment and labor needed for a burn
- How prescribed fire impacts wildlife and grazing lands
- The types and appropriateness of fireguards
- How to plan smoke management
- The difference between growing-season burns and dormant-season burns
- How to design and implement a safe prescribed fire
- The role and importance of prescribed burn associations
How You Will Learn:
- Classroom discussion
- In-field discussion
- Hands-on demonstration, weather-permitting
Who Should Attend:
- Land managers interested in or new to prescribed fire
- Volunteer firefighters
How to Prepare:
- Wear cotton or fire-resistant long pants and long-sleeved shirt
- Wear leather boots
- Bring a hat and gloves
For more information or to register, visit the field day webpage or contact the Noble Research Institute at 580-223-5810.
Pre-Conference courses: January 23–24, 2019
General Conference: January 25–26, 2019
Little Rock, located between the fertile Delta and the beautiful Ozarks, is a growing hot-spot for the local foods movement and is a natural fit for Southern SAWG’s annual conference.
The SSAWG conference provides a forum to learn about sustainable farming techniques and marketing strategies, community food systems, and federal farm policies and programs that promote sustainable agriculture. This event also provides producers, researchers, information providers, concerned consumers, and community organizers the opportunity to build networks, strengthen alliances, and celebrate the achievements of Southern sustainable farmers.
The conference is loaded with practical information tailored for those in the South producing organic and sustainable food on a commercial scale and for those in the region working to improve local food systems. All conference sessions, pre-conference courses, and field trips will be led by successful producers and well-respected educators and organizers from around the region with extensive knowledge and, more importantly, practical experience.
Full details on the 2019 Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms conference will be available soon.