Lifetime Gifts Gained For The Sacrafices Made

logoI have been asked more times than I can count what it means to be on a livestock judging team. I could always formulate and answer, so at least they could act like they understood. However, it took exactly one calendar year to actually know what it means to be a part of a livestock judging team.

Being on judging team is not for the weak. There are many sacrifices that are to be made in order to give it your all. Many will compare being on a livestock judging team to collegiate sports, and in some ways they are correct. However, where we differ from dribbling a ball, kicking a field goal, or hitting a homerun is we never stop. “There is no rest for the wicked” is a motto that the Western Illinois Judging team lives by, and that is where what we do becomes so hard to understand. There are many sacrifices that are made for the gifts that are to be gained.

SLEEP

Livestock judging team members are not the average college student. Not only are they incredibly competent livestock evaluators, but they are also outstanding students. In fact former team member Katie Lewis is actually graduating a semester early in December of 2015. She is a 3.6 GPA student and will graduate with honors with a Bachelor degree in Agriculture Science with a minor in Agronomy. This is far beyond being great at multitasking. Those eight hours of sleep that is recommended are hard to obtain if you are on the WIU livestock judging team. Not only do you get up before the sun to crawl in a dirty, pungent smelling van with ten other people, but most homework is completed either late at night in hotel rooms, or in the school van while on the road. I cannot tell you the amount of times we drove through the night to get to our next destination. I cannot tell you the amount of times we ran on fewer than three hours of sleep just to do what we love, but most importantly I cannot tell you the amount of time I laughed until I cried.

TIME AWAY FROM HOME

It comes to no surprise the members of this years judging team come from a very strong livestock and farming background from all over the nation. Anywhere from cattle, sheep, hogs, or grain. Those that can relate no how hard it is to be away from home while babies are hitting the ground, or even when the crops are being taken out of the fields. After discussing some things with my teammates I came to the consensus that the hardest sacrifice made was time spent away from home. Hank LeVan, a stockman from Woodstock, Ohio says it best. “The hardest thing to give up to be on the team was the time spent away from home. However, that takes me to my next point, it was totally worth it. The memories made and the knowledge gained are both irreplaceable.” It is not very often we get to travel home and see our families. In fact Brenen Diesen stated in a Facebook status,” I can see my family for the first time since July.”

PERSONAL TIME

Some may think that this is not really a big thing to let go of, but until they drive 2,000 miles across the country in six days they do not realize how valuable personal space can become. For an entire year I crawled in the judging van, and spent countless hours with the same ten people. There is no doubt we have stories and memories that will forever remain trapped inside the doors of the van, but it also comes to no surprise that by the end of those trips we needed our space. One of Hank LeVan’s fondest memories was the very first van ride with the team, ” Awkward, and segregated on the way to our very first workout. But by the time we made it back to Macomb everyone was engaged in conversation and probably knew too much about each other.” For the girls, you can forget about your personal mirror time. Instead you are forced to share with at least two other girls, and that can become difficult with only one mirror.

Although there are sacrifices to be made the list of positives far exceed the negatives. As my collegiate judging career came to an end on November 16, 2015 at the North American International Livestock Exposition I reflected on my experience the past five years being a competitor, and I could not hold back my emotions. I can not wrap up into one blog post about what and incredible journey it was been. It was nothing short of extraordinary. I struggle to put words together on just how amazing it has been, so I will leave it to a few of my teammates. Hank- “Being on the team gave me an opportunity to work with great people who are similar to myself. Driven, passionate, and relentless to be nothing but the best. My time in the van will always have a special place in my heart.” Brenen- “At the end of the day, the banners will fade and the buckles will tarnish, but the relationships we have built will last a lifetime.”

This post was not easy for me to put together, but now that I have gathered my composure I would like to add a final few thoughts. At times I may have wanted to strangle a few of you, but there is not a single dollar amount that I would trade any of you or memories for. I cannot even begin to thank not only my teammates for being the coolest most competent stock people, but I could not have grown into the person I am today boardwithout all seven of my coaches the past five years.board In the moment we complained about things like the weather, lack of sleep, and loss of free time. However, now that the day has come we stepped out of the pungent smelling van with poor climate control for the final time our lives as we “knew” it has come to a close. The only things we have left to complain about is how bored we are, and how much we miss life on the road with our makeshift family. If I had the opportunity to go back and do it all over again there would be no hesitation. I will cherish each and every one of you, and our memories shared together forever and always.

meMy name is Jennifer Livermore. I am a senior at Western Illinois University majoring in Agriculture Science with a minor in Animal Science. I am from Media, Illinois, and grew up on our diverse family farm with 1,500 acres of crop ground, 150 head breeding sheep operation, and 30 head show pig operation. I have a very strong passion for the livestock industry and hope to one day judge major livestock expositions. Being a part of a livestock judging team has been my life my entire college career. My journey started at Lincoln Land Community College where I not only competed for LLCC, but was also a member of the Illinois State 4-H team. I later transferred to WIU to further pursue my dreams. It has been an amazing few years, and I cannot wait to see what lies ahead of me in the future.

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Protect The Harvest

I’m not sure about any of you but December is not only one of my favorite months due to Christmas, but also because the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is going on.  Numerous friends of mine and I join around the TV for ten late nights of watching what I would call one of the greatest sports of all time – Rodeo.  Besides bull riding and bareback broncs, steer wrestling without a doubt is one of my favorite events.  On the first night of the action steer wrestler KC Jones won the round with a time of 3.4 seconds and upon his interview my peers and I noticed one of the sponsors on his shirt called “Protect the Harvest.”  Being an Agriculturalist and livestock enthusiast I was curious as to what just exactly it meant.

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There is no question that most people are unaware their rights and potentially the ability to feed their family, is under attack.  Extreme special interests groups whom are very wealthy groups in America have evolved and American farmers, agriculture, animal hunting, and animal exhibitions are at risk.  The result of such groups makes it harder every single day for people like us to continue on with our way of life.  Whether they’re attacking farmers and ranchers, deer hunters, or the youth exhibiting at their country fair, action must be taken to stop these groups.  Protect The Harvest was created to defend and preserve the freedom of American consumers, farmers, ranchers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and animal owners.

 

Protect the Harvest has three main objectives.

 

  • Inform America’s consumers, business, and decision makers about threats posed by Animal Rights groups and anti-farming extremists.
  • Protect our freedoms and way of life by creating lasting legal safeguards for farmers, ranchers, hunters, anglers, and animal owners.
  • Respond to the activities of radical groups by opposing their efforts to pass laws or enact regulations that would restrict our rights, limit our freedoms, and hinder our access to safe and affordable food.

 

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Years and years ago my Grandpa and Grandma had an incredible herd of Purebred Simmental cattle (yes old school red and whites) and they showed very competitively around the country while my dad’s family milked cows.  My parents both grew up showing and that is how they met.  Throughout the years they both made names for themselves respectively in the livestock and dairy worlds.  I was raised on a farm and grew up showing all species of livestock and horses.  My love and passion for this industry can be compared to as second to none and there is no doubt in my mind that even someone like me can do their part in preserving what we know.  Without livestock and the industry, I, along with many of my lifelong friends and mentors would not be where they are today.  It is our job to keep agriculture a priority in today’s world and not let it die.

 

Protect the Harvest serves as an incredible tool to preserving Agriculture and the outdoors.  Not only do they advocate Agriculture but they help stop HSUS and PETA from passing laws and regulations that could harm our industry.  I believe if we can all do our part in educating those removed from the farm and supporting organizations such as Protect the Harvest, our industry will be much stronger and last even longer than those trying to tear it to shreds think.  If we wish to continue feeding our ever growing population and raising our kids on the farm, in a tree stand hunting, or behind the chutes at a rodeo, we must take a stand. A stand for what is right, a stand for what we believe in, and most importantly a stand for Agriculture.  If you happen to be reading this and love and cherish this industry, please take a stand.  Support groups such as protect the harvest, educate the uneducated, stand up to those trying to take our passions away from us and never give up on a lifestyle so rewarding as that of the American farmer and rancher.

 

For more information visit: http://www.protecttheharvest.com

 

I hope you enjoyed my blog and
will take time to check out Protect The Harvest and Advocate for Agriculture! My name is Morgan Swiecichowski and I am currently studying Ag Business and Animal Science at Western Illinois University.  I 1455016_10153489537665085_700127624_ngrew up on a purebred Simmental Cow/Calf operation in Northeastern Wisconsin and love the livestock industry,
the outdoors, and time spent with family and friends.  I’m absolutely blessed to be a part of this industry and have been extremely fortunate to attend Blackhawk East before my time at Western.  WIU has offered me endless opportunities as a part of the Hoof N’ Horn Club and the Livestock Judging Team and I wouldn’t trade my time here for anything. Thanks again!

 

How Wildlife Smack Farmers in the Face (Figuratively of Course)

cago-mueller-soyb2009-1_lg_5491[2]Farmers, or anyone involved with agriculture, can tell you one thing about Mother Nature; she can be an a$$hole sometimes. I believe Mother Nature has a dirty little mind and has some kind of a grudge against farmers because it seems like we are always experiencing tornadoes, hail storms, floods, droughts, wind, disease, pestilence, and early frost to name a few. Thank God we do not experience these disasters every year, but there is one disaster that sneaks in from behind and stabs us in the back when we think the coast is clear from the weathers elements: wildlife.

If you ever talk to a farmer what are the two sure things that he/she hates the most? Meteorologists and deer. I’ve heard the nicest Christian farmers cuss out a Meteorologist for never being correct about the weather, and witnessed many farmers come up with crazy ideas on how to eliminate their deer.  Squirrels, crows, bears, turkeys, beaver, raccoons, geese, hogs, groundhogs, and skunks love to give us gray hair by turning a perfectly good field of crops into a dump.  Most animals, such as deer and raccoons, like to just rip the seeds off the plant and eat them that way, but due to animal height disadvantages or maybe for entertainment they also rip the entire plant out of the ground.  Squirrels, crows, geese, and turkeys also like to eat mature crops when they are full-grown, but these animals do most of their damage in the spring by digging/pecking the seeds out of the ground not long after they have been planted.  Bears, groundhogs, feral hogs, and skunks like to destroy crops a different way.  Since they usually don’t always eat the crop itself they either root up the soil the crops are planted in or decide to smash the crops by making a bedding area inside the field.  And then there’s beaver, who will actually cut the corn stalks completely off to use for shelter or food.   No matter which way they prefer to do it, wildlife destroy our crops more than any tornado or wind storm ever could.

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Wildlife damage causes a huge financial loss to farmers.  In 2001, U.S. agriculture suffered a $944 million loss due to wildlife damage with $619 million of it coming from crop field losses.  Those numbers have recently skyrocketed due to the rising population level of certain species.  Each year in the past decade feral hogs have caused $1.5 billion worth of damage by rooting up pastures, levees, and destroying crops mostly in the southeastern part of the United States.  Each year Wisconsin experiences $37 million worth of field damage just from deer, and Pennsylvania estimates around $30 million worth of damages.  I know a stubborn farmer when I see one and most have made a valiant attempt to control the problem.  Farmers have many methods to control wildlife damage to their crops; fencing, repellents, canine control, trap and release, and my personal favorite hunting.  Most of these methods cost a lot of money, but the most effective way to terminate the problem is to exterminate.  Just like the quote says from the great Ronald Postin,

“the only good deer is a dead deer”.

On my family’s farm there are only two ways to deal with the wildlife problem; my 12 gauge shotgun and my Mathews bow. Everyone in my family has a responsibility on the farm; my dad and brother do the actual farming, my mom does the cooking, and my job is to put a dent in the local wildlife population. I don’t mean to brag, but I feel like I have the best job out of everyone, and since my dad can’t hit the broadside of a barn if he was standing in the barn, it only makes since that I am given this responsibility. Deer are my main target in the fall since they like to wreak the most havoc on our corn/soybean fields. Geese are also a huge problem on our farm. When corn/soybean plants are 3-4 inches high they like to eat everything off the plant but the stem, and they have been known to decimate fields that are close to their ponds. I trap raccoons and beaver in the winter; raccoons are like deer and like to make a huge mess by ripping down cornstalks and beaver have actually tried making beaver dams out of our cornstalks that they cut down and drug to their nearby ponds.  Turkeys are my spring target. After a field has been planted turkeys love to walk along the rows and peck the seeds out of the ground before they ever have a chance to germinate.

I was excited to write about this topic because I have so much experience with this issue. I have been dealing with and controlling wildlife problems all my life and I have developed a huge amount of honor and pride from doing so. The fact of the matter is, wildlife need to eat just like humans, but we prefer them not to eat our food. As farmers, we must learn how to share the land with wildlife and deal with their nuisance.  Farmers must tolerate wildlife the best way that they can, but at the end of the day growing crops is how we obtain our money and provide for our families. Wildlife take this away from us and make it difficult to grow a good crop.  Farmers have enough problems the way it is with other farmers, businesses, and weather.  Wildlife problems just add to much fuel to the fire that is already burning hot.  I believe in sharing this land with wildlife, but in reality it is a very difficult thing to do.

Snapchat--2700239631719276557  My Name is Evan Postin, I am currently a senior at Western Illinois University, and I am majoring in Agricultural Business.  I grew up on a corn/soybean farm in central Illinois and showed livestock.  My passion is hunting, and I dream to one day hunt different species all over the country and world.

PEDv 101

The swine industry is being threatened. This threat is so dangerous that swine producers like myself can see an average of 50% and often even 100% mortality rates in their newborn piglets that are less than seven days old. This dangerous situation is caused by the recently popular Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus better known as PEDv.

This deadly virus has had a long history overseas known to be prevalent as early as 1982 in Asia. Now, PEDv is a danger to every swine here in America as it has been confirmed to be in the United States as of the spring of 2013. It is known that PEDv was brought to the United States from China after a group did farm tours and brought it through a small Ohio airport with poor international bio-security protocols. With PEDv causing severe diarrhea and dehydration, swine producers are taking the necessary steps to protect themselves.

Before swine producers can protect themselves, everyone should understand where the virus comes from. PEDv is out of the Coronaviridae family. This family included other viruses that have made themselves familiar in the swine industry such as transmissible gastroenteritis, porcine respiratory coronavirus, and porcine hemmaglutinatin encephalomyelitis which have all had their individual impacts on swine production.

bio-securityTo first prevent a farm from contacting PEDv producers must have a strict bio-security program implemented into their daily routine. As said by my boss from this summer,” bio-security is the most important thing you have to watch on a day to day basis.” The fact that PEDv can be transmitted through direct or indirect fecal-oral route requires farms to stay extremely clean. Any clothes worn around the swine on a farm should not be worn anywhere else to prevent any possible outside fecal matter to come in contact with the herd. Also, vehicles and farm supplies need to be kept clean and disinfected. Traditionally, disinfectant and drying are known ways to kill the PEDv virus. When bringing any other new hogs onto the farm the new hogs should always be quarantined for at least 30 days to make sure they are not present with the virus. Recently, there has been a vaccine offered to the public for PEDv, though the effectiveness in preventing PEDv is not 100% because of mutating strains. If swine catch PEDv, treatment is fairly limited. The main step that needs to be taken is finding the most effective way to prevent death due to dehydration.

As more knowledge of PEDv comes to light, swine production will now be fending off another dangerous threat. What the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus holds for the future is yet unknown, but as a community, prevention of transmitting this virus through progressive bio-security protocols seems to be one of the few ways of protecting our farm from the potential travesty that the virus can cause.

Thank you for reading, I am Tyler Gradert from Geneseo, Illinois. I am a graduate of Black Hawk East College in 2014 and currently a senior at Western Illinois University. My family and I raise hogs and cattle while also having crop production.

 

Record Setting Year for Alpha Tau Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho Smokin’ Hog

AlphaGammaRhoThe Alpha Tau chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho held its 23rd annual Smokin’ Hog event on October 10th of 2015. We could not have asked for a better day than the day we had. The sun was shining, and the temperature was around seventy degrees. For those of you who don’t know what Smokin’ Hog is, it is our best and the biggest philanthropy on campus. We have a meal during the day, with games for kids and a raffle. Then that night we have a band come play. Every fall the men of Alpha Gamma Rho will start smoking hogs at about 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon. These hogs will be smoked all through the night and will usually be finished around 7 a.m. the next morning, then they are chopped up and soaked in BBQ sauce to make pulled pork. Prior to the event, donations are taken, meal tickets are collected, and t-shirts and koozies are sold. We sell leftover t-shirts and koozies during the event as well, along with a raffle tickets for various items that are donated or built by us. The meal started at 11 a.m. this year and we wrapped things up at 5 p.m.. At this time, the meal will start getting cleaned up and the perimeter fences are set up for the concert that starts at 9 p.m.. This year Jake Dodds was our performer, he and his band were very good entertainers. Each year Alpha Gamma Rho donates the money raised to the McDonough County Vibe Organization. Vibe stands for Volunteers Interested in Benefiting Everyone, last year I know they had a part in bringing back an ag program to Macomb High.

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Guest enjoying the nice beautiful day

This year’s Smokin’ Hog raised $21,260. Taking out expenses we donated $13,800, setting a record for the chapter. Our chapter sponsors alone raised almost $15,500, 34 sponsors being corporate donating at least $250, and getting a banner hung with the business name on it. We fed 400 people this year, making our ticket sales come to $3,380. We sold 150 koozies making $310 in koozie sales. We sold over 120 t-shirts, $1,488 worth was sold by our chapter and sold the day of too guest. We also sold $432 worth of t-shirts to the sororities on campus. Smoking seven hogs means we had plenty of pork to go around, even serving 400 guests, so this year we decided to sell little sandwiches during the concert for people to snack on. We only charged one dollar for these sandwiches, but we still bought in $138. We also gave some pulled pork to the WIU Vet’s Club who offered to help us work security during the concert we hold at night. We also made about $50 in raffle tickets. Our total profit came to about $21,260, and we only had about $7,500 worth of expenses. Our expenses included the band, food, koozies, t-shirts, tickets/flyers, the banners we had to get made, and the bill for the meat processing locker.

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Some corporate sponsors from the event.

Alpha Gamma Rho’s Smokin’ Hog is the biggest Philanthropy on campus, and we will continue to raise thousands of dollars to be able to donate throughout the years. Vibe awarded us with a plaque, and greatly thanked us for our contributions to the organization here in 2015.

Thank you again for reading my blog post about Alpha Gamma Rho’s 23rd 2014compositeannual Smokin’ Hog philanthropy. My name is Tanner Anderson, and I am currently a senior at Western Illinois University, studying Animal Science. I come from the Dallas City, Illinois, area about 30 miles west of Macomb. I was born and raised on a family farm, and have helped numerous farmers around the area. I am part of Alpha Gamma Rho, Ag Council, and Hoof N’ Horn. Thanks Again!

Life of an Alum

mcqueenLindsay McQueen is a successful WIU alumnas that has made a respectful name for herself in the agricultural work force and the Illinois Farm Bureau. She is avid about getting the young and old in the community involved in agriculture and plans multiple events a year to do so. She is a great example of what WIU can do for you.

 

Where are you from and how did you become interested in agriculture?

I grew up on a grain farm near Alexander in rural Morgan County. I’ve always been involved and interested in Ag. I think it’s natural to be curious about something that is prevalent in everyday life. That stuck with me throughout high school and college as I considered a hundred possible majors.

Why did you choose WIU?

I applied to various colleges but ultimately picked WIU for a few reasons. It was close to home (1.5 hr) but not too close. I knew a couple older friends that went there and I heard it had a good Ag program…which turned out to be true!

What kind of groups or clubs did you participate in at WIU?

While at WIU I jumped into a handful of clubs. CFFA- because it felt like an easy progression from high school; Ag Business Club- because it was my major; Sigma Alpha- because it was a great way to meet girls with a common interests; Ag Mech Club- because I was intrigued and just went for it. It also allowed me to meet a whole new bunch of people that may not necessarily be in the other clubs. Finally, Alpha Zeta- because I luckily managed to snag good grades and joined while I still had the chance!

Tell me about what your role at the Farm Bureau?

Since graduation I have worked as a County Manager with Illinois Farm Bureau. In June 2014, I moved to Jacksonville to manage Cass – Morgan Farm Bureau. As county manager, I work to help farmers in my area by putting on various programs, educate others local issues, and communicate with the general public in various forums….along with a number of odd jobs! No day is the same.

What kind of big things can we expect to see from the Farm Bureau in 2016?

Farm Bureau will continue to be the top ag organization in the state. We are constantly working with legislators voicing our concerns and giving them insight from our perspective. We continue to fight WOTUS, issues with crop insurance, Section 179, and always educate the masses when possible. Get involved in Collegiate Farm Bureau or join your county Young Leaders program to learn more!

What does being a Leatherneck mean to you?

Being a Leatherneck means always being #1. We are the only Leatherneck- not many schools share our uniqueness. College gave me so many memories, friends, and connections. Your years in college are like nothing you’ll ever experience.

Do you have any advice for Freshmen WIU students?

Freshman- Get involved! Tear down walls, get out of your comfort zone, and meet people with different backgrounds from different parts of the state, country, and world. It’s okay to not declare a major yet, I think I changed my mind 4 times before graduating! Travel abroad if possible. As fun as college is with no parentals and all it has to offer, remember to stay true to yourself and at least locate the library so you can point it out when the parents do visit.

Do you have any advice for graduating Leathernecks?

Grads- Congrats, let it sink in…all you’ve done, how much you’ve grown (grown up even). Stay engaged. Keep posted on various WIU activities, go to Homecoming or other events. I hope you wake up every day loving your job. Don’t settle, you’re a Leatherneck for pete’s sake. Be a proud alum and hang that plaque!

My name is Brett Langley, I am a senior that will be graduating at the end of the 2015 fall semester. I am an agriculture major with a minor in agronomy. As I look back on the time I spent at WIU all I can say is, it is great to be a leatherneck.

Cover Crops!

Dr. Joel Gruver is one of the leading agriculturists in the cover crop field. He goes to many seminars and guest appearances all over the Midwest talking about cover crops. He is the leading ag professional in the cover crop field actively advocating cover crops. I have taken some of his classes and I decided to reach out to him with some interview questions about cover crops. I did this in hope that I would learn more about cover crops and talk to one of the leading professionals tackling cover crops head on.

1.        What are the advantages of Cover Crops?

Cover crops can have many beneficial effects including erosion control, improved infiltration, nutrient scavenging and recycling, organic matter building, compaction alleviation, and provision of forage.
When compared with other strategies for improving water quality, CC have the advantage over edge of field practices like buffers in that they improve soil properties in the field as well as improving water quality.

2.        By the numbers how much do Cover Crops reduce certain pressures such as weeds runoff etc.

The impact of CCs on weeds, run-off, nutrient leaching etc. varies with respect to lots of factors such as CC species, CC planting date and weather conditions. > 50% reduction in run-off and nutrient leaching are commonly reported in the research literature.
At the Allison Farm, we normally achieve >9o% weed suppression in our organic no-till soybean plots. In these plots we plant into standing 6’ tall cereal rye. The rye that gets knocked flat by either a double pass with the drill or 1 pass followed by a roller.

3.        What is the effective method of planting Cover Crops? Good planting dates in general.

I assume that you inquiring about the most effective method of establishing cover crops.
The most effective methods of CC establishment precisely place CC seeds in moist soil. This can be done very effectively with a drill or precision planter (i.e., corn planter) but the cost is higher than less precise methods such as blending CC with fertilizer and then spreading the mix with a fertilizer buggy. The seed does not need to be incorporated if timely rains occur. Without timely rains, light incorporation with a vertical tillage tool or other types of tillage tools can improve stand establishment.

4.        For corn what would you suggest be planted as a Cover Crop?

Ahead of corn it is generally best to focus on legumes (e.g., hairy vetch or clovers) and/or brassicas (e.g., radishes) that release N quickly. Some farmer make grass CC species (e.g., oats and annual ryegrass) work ahead of corn by killing the grass when it is young and applying some N with the planter

5.        For beans what would you suggest planted as a Cover Crop?

Cereal rye and other grass species work well ahead of soybeans.

6.        What are the main advancements coming for Cover Crops?

One of the most interesting recent developments is early interseeding. This is when cover crops are planted (mostly in corn) before the crop canopy closes. Only very shade tolerant CC species like annual ryegrass will work and herbicide programs need to designed carefully but the result is significantly more CC growth than late over-seeding (when canopy is opening) and much more growth than planting CC after harvest.  Here is a link to some info:http://www.interseedertech.com/

7.        Do you see Cover Crops picking up speed in the agriculture community and why do you think that?

CCs require management and reward management… so I don’t see them being a good fit on farms where the management skills are already spread thin. The most obvious places to add CCs are highly erodible fields and fields where crop residues are currently grazed without CCs. Other favorable scenarios included fields prone to nutrient leaching and fields with herbicide resistant weeds. I think CC acres will continue to expand in areas where these scenarios are common and where good technical support and some cost share is available. Lower commodity prices have definitely reduced farmer interest in CCs and all other sources of added cost.

8.        Are there a lot of jobs in the Cover Crop industry?

The job market in the CC industry has tightened with lower commodity prices. One of the biggest CC seed companies currently owes CC seed producers millions of dollars. I think there are still good opportunities for CC seed sales and custom CC seeding especially if the company can position itself well to improve farmer success with cover crops and tap into conservation program payments.

i would like to give sincere thanks to Dr. Gruver for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions for me about cover crops.