Welcome to the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture

News and Recent Publications

  • Researchers Find Water Conservation Solutions in Cover Crops

    via Southern SARE:

    In a two-year graduate student study at Texas Tech University, funded through the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SSARE) program, winter cover crops – specifically rye – helped build healthy soils while preserving precious water for summer crops in minimally tilled forage-based grazing systems.

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  • President’s Note: Book Review: Water in Plain Sight

    I just completed reading the book Water in Plain Sight, by Judith Schwartz. I found the overall message interesting, but feel that science has not answered many of the questions about how the global water…

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  • Field Notes – July 2018

    We’re creeping into that time of year when water starts to become even more of a concern than usual. David Redhage gets this month’s newsletter rolling with a timely review of a book on 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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  • Farming with Walk-Behind Tractors

    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.

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  • Tulsa World: ODOT Mowing for Milkweeds

    The Tulsa World has a story on how the Oklahoma Department of Transportation has been trying out different roadside mowing schedules to find out which work best to keep milkweed plants available for monarch butterflies…

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Federation of Southern Cooperatives: Annual Meeting @ Birmingham and Epes, AL (Hyatt Regency Winfrey Hotel)
Aug 16 – Aug 18 all-day
Federation of Southern Cooperatives: Annual Meeting @ Birmingham and Epes, AL (Hyatt Regency Winfrey Hotel)

Join the Federation of Souther Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund for its 51st Annual Meeting and 17th Estelle Witherspoon Lifetime Achievement Award Dinner. This event celebrates a half-century of work, memories, and progress in the development of the Federation as the foremost organization serving black farmers, co-op members, and low-income people in the rural South.

Deadline: CRP Enrollment
Aug 17 all-day

The deadline to sign up for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.

For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. View a full list of practices.

FSA will use updated soil rental rates to make annual rental payments, reflecting current values. It will not offer incentive payments as part of the new signup.

USDA will not open a general signup this year, however, a one-year extension will be offered to existing CRP participants with expiring CRP contracts of 14 years or less.

Additionally, FSA established new ranking criteria for CRP grasslands. To guarantee all CRP grasslands offers are treated equally, applicants who previously applied (prior to the current sign-up period) will be asked to reapply using the new ranking criteria.

In return for enrolling land in CRP, USDA, through FSA on behalf of the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), provides participants that remove sensitive lands from production and plant certain grasses, shrubs and trees that improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and increase wildlife habitat with annual rental payments and cost-share assistance. Landowners enter into contracts that last between 10 and 15 years.

Signed into law by President Reagan in 1985, CRP is one of the largest private-lands conservation programs in the United States. Thanks to voluntary participation by farmers, ranchers and private landowners, CRP has improved water quality, reduced soil erosion and increased habitat for endangered and threatened species.

The new changes to CRP do not impact the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, a related program offered by CCC and state partners.

Producers wanting to apply for the CRP continuous signup or CRP grasslands should contact their USDA service center. To locate your local FSA office, visit More information on CRP can be found at


Field Day: Soil Health @ Oakwood
Aug 17 all-day

The Dewey County Conservation District is hosting this soil health field day. For more information, contact Coleta Bratten by phone (580-328-5366) or email.

Workshop: Bouquets from the Garden @ Oklahoma City (Commonwealth Urban Farms of OKC)
Aug 18 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
Workshop: Bouquets from the Garden @ Oklahoma City (Commonwealth Urban Farms of OKC)

Get ready for some serious beauty and fun! Lauren Palmer of The Wild Mother will demonstrate how to create an alluring arrangement from flowers grown at CommonWealth’s farm. Lauren is the creative genius behind the gorgeous, naturalistic arrangements that define The Wild Mother style.

Fall flower seedlings will be available for sale.

Instructor: Lauren Palmer, co-founder of The Wild Mother

For more information, visit the Garden School website, or email the organizers.

Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Conference @ Hattiesburg, MS (Lowery A. Woodall Advanced Technology Center)
Aug 20 – Aug 21 all-day

The South Area Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) Committee will host its 3rd Biennial Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative Conference.

All registration costs will be covered by the South Area GLCI Committee for those who are pre-registered on or before August 3, 2018.

The primary goals/objectives for this conference are to focus on educating/training livestock producers on beef cattle and small ruminants basics. The conference is designed to recruit new and beginning livestock producers, reach out to veteran producers (new, beginning, or existing), enhance the knowledge and skills of existing livestock producers, educate producers on funding and technical assistance opportunities, and identify and encourage experienced livestock producers to serve as mentors for new and beginning livestock producers.

For more information or to register, contact the USDA NRCS Hattiesburg Area Office at 601-909-3329.

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