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ASHLAND — The agricultural landscape is changing -- both literally and figuratively -- but interseeding cover crops can help farmers make the most of those changes.

Not only do cover crops protect farm fields from physical erosion and gully formation, but they can also provide one more tool in the arsenal when it comes to capturing and sequestering carbon. And that can pay significant dividends for producers are carbon trading markets move into Ohio.

That’s why Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) is hosting the third of it’s new Conservation Chats field day events on Interseeder Intro. The event will take place June 16 at the David Elson farm at the intersection of state routes 89 and 302 outside of Ashland.

“We are really excited to be able to add a cover crop interseeder to our equipment rental line up this spring,” said Erica White, Ashland SWCD technician and Jerome Fork watershed coordinator. “Instead of waiting until after harvest to plant cover crops, interseeders are designed to allow farmers to go in 6 to 8 weeks after their corn in planted and plant the cover crop right into the growing corn.”

White said the cash crop’s canopy provides shade the slows the cover crop’s growth, keeping is small until harvest.

“Once the cash crop is harvested, the canopy opens up, and the cover crops really take off,” White said. “The big benefits of interseeding are that the soil is never without the protection of a growing crop and farmers are forced to battle limited weather windows to plant their cover crops after harvest. It’s a relief to know those crops are already in place, capturing sunlight and nutrients and protecting the soil.”

Ashland SWCD’s interseeder was purchased through a grant from the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District’s Parters in Watershed Management program. Farmers within MWCD’s jurisdictional boundaries can rent the interseeder for just $5/acre, while farmers outside MWCD’s boundaries can rent the interseeder for $10/acre.

The field day will not only feature a demonstration of the interseeder in action by Elson and Fennig Equipment, but Ryan Haden from Ohio State University will also share his interseeder research. And, the program will conclude with information on carbon credit trading, a new market that has recently opened up in Ohio.

Land O’Lakes has initiated a new, farmer-based carbon credit program using their TruTerra Insights Engine to quantify carbon credits and savings on farm operations, and cover crops are just one of the practices that can earn farmers carbon credits. Once quantified, farmers can receive compensation for the carbon credits they generation, and eco-friendly businesses seek out carbon savings in their effort to become carbon neutral.

The Conservation Chat: Interseeder Intro event is free, and includes dinner, but pre-registration is required. Attendees can register by calling the Ashland SWCD office at 419-281-7645 or by visiting https://www.eventbrite.com/e/conservation-chats-interseeder-intro-tickets-144551989893?aff=ebdssbeac.

The event will take place at the David Elson Farm at the intersection of state routes 89 and 302 and will begin promptly at 6 p.m. For more information, contact Ashland SWCD at 419-281-7645 or visit www.ashlandswcd.com.

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