Welcome to the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture

News and Recent Publications

  • Choctaw Hoop House Workshop Recap – and Updated Plans!

    The Choctaw Nation hosted one of the Kerr Center’s popular hoop house workshops at its Community Center in Poteau on October 7. The workshop treated participants to a hands-on experience assembling an affordable, 1,700 square-foot…

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  • President’s Note: The Great Nutrient Collapse

    In 2016 I wrote about a book entitled Eating on the Wild Side, by Jo Robinson, which discussed the issue of nutrient density in food and how plant breeding has resulted in a loss of…

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  • Field Notes – October 2017

    The nights are noticeably longer than the days by now, and many farm and ranch activities are being put to rest for the season. With that thought, we’re focusing this issue on tasks for the…

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  • SIGN UP for E-Field Notes: Kerr Center Newsletter

    Information to help you be successful and sustainable! Keep up with Kerr Center Farm and Ranch, public events, publications, videos: sign up for our monthly e-newsletter, E-Field Notes.

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  • Organic Establishment of Native Wildflowers

    This presentation, by Kerr Center President David Redhage, is from a USDA-NRCS webinar held August 1, 2017.  It describes the Kerr Center’s experiences and lessons learned from efforts to establish wildflower plantings on the Kerr…

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  • Portable Shade

    Take a structure designed to protect tender plants from frost, and turn it into something that keeps cattle cool in high summer? Sure – it’s just another example of the Kerr Center livestock program’s can-do…

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Kansas Rural Center Annual Conference @ Manhattan, KS
Nov 17 – Nov 18 all-day
Kansas Rural Center Annual Conference @ Manhattan, KS | Manhattan | Kansas | United States

The Kansas Rural Center’s annual conference, to be held November 17 – 18, will feature 12 to 15 workshops each day, providing practical information for diversifying farm or ranch enterprises, building and supporting local and regional food systems, and communicating effectively in order to improve on-farm, community, and public policy decisions.

The conference will be held at the Four Points Sheraton in Manhattan, Kansas. A full agenda and registration information is available online at

Keynote speakers include Denise O’Brien on Friday Nov. 17, and Ferd Hoefner on Saturday Nov. 18. O’Brien will talk about “What Can One Person Do? The Perspective of a Long-time Activist.”

O’Brien, a long-time advocate for family farms, women farmers, and environmental protection, will also participate in a workshop session on the challenges of addressing spray drift with comments on the emerging Dicamba threat. O’Brien is current chair of the Pesticide Action Network.

Hoefner will provide a presentation called, “The Past, Present, and Future of Sustainable Agriculture.” He will provide an overview of farm policy, on-the-ground successes, and work yet to be done to ensure a sustainable food and farming future. He’ll share his 30 years of experience working in D.C. to shape sustainable agriculture policy and what’s on the horizon with the 2018 Farm Bill as well as the future for sustainable agriculture.

One track of sessions titled “The Farmer to Farmer Forum”, will highlight NCR-SARE (North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) funded farmer research projects, with presentations from across Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska. These include a return of last year’s workshops on capturing local honey bee strains and sustainable beekeeping by Leo Sharashkin of Missouri and the economics of grazing and haying cover crops by Josh Roe, plus new presentations on diversifying crop rotations in a semi-arid environment, portable grazing system for goats on invasive weeds and brush, and exploration of a mobile meat marketing unit.

Other workshop sessions include conservation practices and cover crops in specialty crop production, a dialogue on opportunities and future vision for small meat farmers in Kansas, farming with limited resources, conservation & biological control/attracting beneficial insects to your farm, local food councils in Kansas, climate and health resilience, how agroecological practices can improve crop production and grazing systems, the future of organic farming, increasing biodiversity, carbon and forest products in woodlands, and the 2018 Kansas policy preview by the WEALTH network of organizations (Water, Energy, Air, Land, Transportation and Health).

Cost to attend the conference is $70 per day or $135 for both days, which includes access to all presenters, lunch and snacks both days, and a Friday evening social hour.  A limited number of scholarships are available to students and beginning farmers.   Both days will include a lunch from locally-sourced ingredients and will offer conference attendees time for networking and visiting exhibitor booths.

For more information or to register, visit or contact the Kansas Rural Center by email or phone (866-579-5469).

Hotel rooms at Four points by Sheraton available at a discounted rate until Oct. 24 for conference participants. To reserve a room call 888-627-8649 and request the group rate for “Kansas Rural Center Farm and Food Conference.”

Southern Soil Health Conference @ Wichita Falls, TX (Wellington Conference Center)
Nov 28 – Nov 29 all-day
Southern Soil Health Conference @ Wichita Falls, TX (Wellington Conference Center) | Wichita Falls | Texas | United States

The Southern Soil Health Conference is presented by Green Cover Seed and the Noble Research Institute and is sponsored in part by No-Till on the Plains, Texas NRCS, Texas Grazing Land Coalition, Unilever, Dixon Water Foundation, Southern SARE, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, and the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts.


Conference Agenda:

  • Rainfall Simulator and Soil Health Demos: Nathan Haile, Texas NRCS
  • Carbonomics: Keith Berns, Green Cover Seed
  • Improving Soil Health in Perennial Pastures: Jeff Goodwin, Noble Research
  • Rethinking Management To Regenerate Soils: Willie Durham, NRCS Soil Health
  • No till Seeding Equipment – Settings and Adjustments: Paul Jasa, UNL Extension
  • In Field Pollinator Strips and Companion Crops: Jimmy Emmons, Leedy OK
  • Alternatives to Mono Culture Graze Out Wheat: Jim Johnson, Noble Research
  • Managing Grazing to Regenerate Soil and Farm: Richard Teague, Texas AgriLife
  • Managing Ecosystems to Enhance Wildlife Brett Peshek, Green Cover Seed
  • Common Sense Fencing and Watering Ideas: Doug Peterson, NRCS Soil Health
  • Cover Crops and Chemicals – Restrictions/Rotations: James Lock – Noble
  • Ley It On The Line – A New Way for Crop Rotation: Dale Strickler, Green Cover

For more information or to register, visit the conference website or contact Keith Berns by email or phone (402-469-6784).

Growing for the Future: Beginning Farmer & Rancher Online Virtual Conference
Dec 4 @ 3:00 pm – Dec 7 @ 6:00 pm
Growing for the Future: Beginning Farmer & Rancher Online Virtual Conference

Growing for the Future is a unique online, interactive virtual conference focused on beginning farmer and rancher issues, including mentorship, business planning, USDA programs, women and veterans in farming, conservation, and much more!

Join the National Farmers Union for this FREE four-day online conference focused on developing agricultural leaders from all backgrounds. The annual nationally focused online conference provides an opportunity for beginning farmers to acquire the skills they need to run a successful operation.

The conference will highlight leaders in the field of agriculture and focus on building a network for beginning farmers and ranchers throughout the country.

Tentative 2017 Conference Programming:

Eric Sannerud, Mighty Axe Hops:
Access to Land as a Beginning Farmer

Sarah Campbell, USDA Farm Service Agency:
Access to Capital

Cara Fraver, National Young Farmers Coalition:
FSMA Produce Safety Rule: Are You In or Are You Out?

Donna Marie Pahl, Produce Safety Alliance:
FSMA Produce Safety Basics

Kriss Marion & Lisa Kivirist, Soil Sisters:
Mentorship & Networking

NFU Staff:
Farm Bill Breakdown

Matt Perdue, NFU:
Beginning Farmers & Healthcare

Michael O’Gorman, Farmer Veteran Coalition:
An In-Depth Look Into Vegetable Production

Audra Mulkern, Female Farmer Project:
Live Q&A Session

Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service:
Organic Certification

Farm Aid

For more information or to register, visit the conference website or contact Melissa Miller.

National Conference on Cover Crops & Soil Health: Harvesting the Potential @ Indianapolis, IN
Dec 7 – Dec 8 all-day
National Conference on Cover Crops & Soil Health: Harvesting the Potential @ Indianapolis, IN | Indianapolis | Indiana | United States

The second National Conference on Cover Crops and Soil Health is December 7-8, 2017, in Indianapolis. This meeting will be an opportunity to learn recent developments in how cover crops are being used by innovative farmers across the country and gain insights on improving soil health from producers, conservation leaders, and scientists.

Whether you are contemplating cover crops for the first time, or you have years of experience and want to interact with soil health and cover crops innovators, this program will provide you with valuable information, networking, and learning opportunities.

The conference is intended for anyone interested in the practical use of cover crops and soil health improvement, including farmers; conservation agents; certified crop advisers (CCAs) and agribusiness staff; and university, nongovernmental organization (NGO), and agency representatives.

Headliners for the conference include:

  • Keith Berns, a nationally known Nebraska farmer on the topic of carbonomics
  • David Montgomery, a geologist and popular author on soils and erosion, whose latest book is titled Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life
  • Dan DeSutter, a grain farmer from the central Corn Belt and a long-time no-tiller and cover crop user
  • Trey Hill, a grain farmer from the eastern Corn Belt and also a long-time no-tiller and cover crop user
  • Jimmy Emmons, a rancher and grain farmer from the Southern Plains, who grazes cover crops

Over 40 presenters, nearly half of them farmers with years of cover cropping experience, will be speaking in a variety of informative breakout sessions including: introduction to cover crops; advanced practices such as planting green and interseeding, grazing cover crops, managing herbicide resistant weeds with cover crops, use of cover crops in horticulture and organic operations; and latest approaches on measuring soil health, building soil organic matter, and understanding soil biology.

There will be six breakout tracks available for participants to choose from, including:

  • Basics of Cover Cropping
  • Advanced Cover Cropping Insights from Farmer Experts
  • Diving into Soil Health
  • Cover Crop Role in the Cropping System
  • Impacts of Cover Crops on Economics/Environment
  • Special Topics with Cover Crops and Soil Health

Providing an opportunity for networking with speakers and service providers is a priority for the conference, and the exhibit hall will be designed to allow participant interaction with equipment, seed, and service providers important to practical cover crop and soil health implementation.

Optional farm tours near Indianapolis will also be available on the second afternoon following the conclusion of the main conference program.

Tour the Kerr Center @ Kerr Center
Dec 12 @ 9:00 am
Tour the Kerr Center @ Kerr Center | Poteau | Oklahoma | United States

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 with “tour request” in the subject line to arrange a visit.

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