News and Events


  • 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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  • 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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  • Job Announcement: Coordinating Wildlife Biologist

    Application Deadline: October 13th Location: Stillwater, Oklahoma Anticipated Start Date: October 24, 2017 Overview: This position will be located within the NRCS State Office in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and will provide conservation services and delivery focused…

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  • Field Notes – September 2017

    Fall has arrived, and school bells are ringing – so for this issue, we’re taking a back-to-school slant. David Redhage has been out teaching about increasing and conserving pollinator habitat. We share a presentation on…

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  • President’s Note: Kerr Center Prairie

    This spring we burned the Kerr Center Prairie. I mentioned we would post photos of the prairie over the summer. Well, here is a timeline of photos from the prairie. I am happy to report…

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  • Case Studies Show Big Economic Benefits of Soil Health Practices

    Soil health practices such as cover crops and no-till can result in an economic return of over $100 per acre, according to a set of case studies jointly released by the National Association of Conservation Districts and Datu Research, LLC.

    Cover crops and no-till can limit soil loss, reduce run-off, enhance biodiversity, and more. Naturally, farmers who are considering adopting these practices are keen to know how they will affect their farm’s bottom line.

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  • Field Notes – August 2017

    It’s August, and we’re as keen as anyone else to keep out of the sun. In this issue, we focus on how to do the same thing for crops and livestock, with features on: –…

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  • President’s Note: Book Review – Fireflies, Glow-worms and Lighting Bugs

    Fireflies or lightning bugs – take your pick of the name – have interested me since childhood. I know many of you probably have memories of chasing fireflies in the early evening. It reminds me of time spent at my grandparents’ house literally over the hill from my childhood home.

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  • Livestock Welfare and Performance in Silvopastures

    via the Association for Temperate Agroforestry: One benefit commonly claimed for silvopasture is that livestock grazing in hot weather will gain more weight in pastures with trees than in full sun. This is because they…

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Upcoming Events

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.

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Newsletter: See Latest Issue

  • 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…

    Read more

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