Green Lands Blue Waters is a regional organization using continuous living cover farming systems, including winter cover crops, deep-rooted perennial crops, pastures and agroforestry, to secure our agricultural and ecological future with productive and verdant farms. The 2016 conference brings a market-based focus to complement innovative, science-based approaches to conservation of soil and water quality.
GLBW hosts an annual conference focused on bringing together landowners, extension agents, researchers and several others to share best practices and tools to increase continuous living cover on the ever-changing Midwestern agricultural landscapes.
The GLBW conference will head to Missouri for the first time this year and will be hosted by the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry. The conference will take place Tuesday, Nov. 29, and Wednesday, Nov. 30.
The theme of this year’s conference is, “Going Green with Conservation-Based Farming: Market-Based Approaches to Promote Soil Health and Water Quality.”
“The reason we chose this theme is because GLBW members realize that farmers need to know not only if alternative annual and perennial crops can grow well, but also if there is a market for them,” said Michael Gold, associate director of the Center. “If landowners are going to buy into certain ideas, they want to know if it will be profitable and good for the environment.”
The cost for the entire conference is $180. The cost for just the first day (Nov. 29) is $130. The cost for just the second day (Nov. 30) is $70. Registration can be found online and is currently open.
The conference will take place in Memorial Union on the MU campus. The main presentations will take place in Stotler Lounge, with several breakout sessions taking place across Memorial Union. Those sessions include discussions on agroforestry, perennial biomass, cover crops, perennial forage and pastures, and perennial grains.
“Those sessions will be very specific to the topics and will feature some great information,” Gold said.
Speakers include Bill Buckner, President and CEO, Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation; John Hendrickson, UW-Madison Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems; and Lauren Cartwright, Missouri NRCS Agricultural Economist, among others. Bucker will serve as the opening keynote speaker and will talk about the importance of investing in soil health and conservation. Sean McMahon, Executive Director, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, will give the closing keynote on public-private partnerships to improve water quality.
“We have so many engaging speakers lined up,” Gold said. “It’s going to be a fantastic conference. Attendees will not be disappointed by the wide range of topics covered and depth of information, as well as the many opportunities for discussion and networking with peers.”
Gold added that there are sponsorship opportunities open as well. A $400 sponsorship includes free registration for one person, a booth that includes a place for a poster, and the sponsors logo or name will appear on all of the materials.