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Agricultural News

Cover Crop Pilot Proves Great Success - Conservationist Jimmy Emmons Hopes to See Project Grow

Tue, 12 Dec 2017 11:56:53 CST

Cover Crop Pilot Proves Great Success - Conservationist Jimmy Emmons Hopes to See Project Grow Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays recently caught up with Jimmy Emmons, president of the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts and a farmer from Leedey, to talk about a pilot project undertaken this past year by Emmons and the member organizations of the Oklahoma Conservation Partnership. You can hear their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.

Emmons regularly employs cover crops on his farm to help conserve the soil on his property. This year, Emmons volunteered to sow a few acres this time in a cocktail mix consisting of several vegetables, melons and produce as a cover crop. The idea being to glean the produce as it ripened and donate it to hungry families throughout the state in need. Working with the Oklahoma Conservations Partners, Emmons and the groups involved paired with the Oklahoma Regional Food Bank to launch a pilot project and attempt to determine whether or not such a program would be viable.

"It's the best program that the partnership of conservation has ever done," Emmons remarked proudly. "The food bank has a real challenge of getting fresh vegetables out to the people that need it. So, this is a way a producer can help."

According to Emmons, this year's pilot proved a great success, though it did come with a learning curve.

"Part of the pilot project was to get all the kinks and snags out of the system," he said, explaining the work that went into organizing the volunteer labor to glean the produce and the timing and direction involved in that, as the different produce varieties became ripe. "Getting that all coordinated has been a learning curve for all of us, but a successful learning curve."

With this year under their belts, Emmons and the Conservation Partners feel this program can start to grow and expand to more operations, to hopefully encourage conservation practices, help farmers be more successful and most importantly - help more of those in need.

"It's a good win-win-win for everyone and I think this thing can grow to where we can really achieve goals to help feed the people that need it. We're in Phase II of expansion now, inviting other producers in. We look for that to continue to grow," Emmons said, noting that the project has already spurred some interest in our state and beyond. "We have six producers signed on for this year already and probably going to wind up at eight or nine and that will be a tremendous amount of fresh vegetables and products to eat. I've also had enquiries from Kansas and Texas about it."

The beauty of this project, Emmons says, is that literally any producer can do this. Those that do, give nothing up as cover crops are planted between their cash crops. At the same time, they are building their soil health and helping to feed hundreds of hungry people.

Emmons will present at this year's No Till on the Plains winter conference in Wichita, Kan. January 30-31, 2018, about his farm and how conservation practices he has adopted have changed his entire operation. For more information about this conference and how to register, click here. To hear Emmons talk more in-depth about the pilot project's success and his upcoming presentation, click or tap the LISTEN BAR below.



Click below to hear Emmons and Hays talk more in-depth about the cover crop pilot project's success
right-click to download mp3


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