Cover Crops: Current and Future Directions

Cover Crops for Soil Health - Northeast Workshop

SARE Outreach

SARE products

This plenary discussion on current and future directions in cover crops features Greg Roth (Penn State, presenting on behalf of Scott Rushe, Seedway), Ramona Garner (USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center) and Andrew Smyre (Perdue AgriBusiness).

Greg Roth (Penn State, presenting on behalf of Scott Rushe, Seedway) discusses his take on the future of cover crops, including past and current demand for cover crop seeds (species, mixes, quantities, application situations), and farmer feedback he has heard about performance, cost, and species or traits that are desired but unavailable.

Download the slide presentation (PDF): Cover Crops for Soil Health, Industry Perspective - Rushe

Ramona Garner (USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center) describes the efforts of the Plant Materials Center to identify and develop new and improved cover crops; germplasm identification and screening, and the role of the center in national cover crops and soil health projects.

Download the slide presentation (PDF): USDA NRCS Plant Materials Program, Cover Crops - Garner

Andrew Smyre (Perdue AgriBusiness) discusses his company's interest in cover crops as it relates to organic grains, soil health and specialty crops. He also addresses Perdue's approach to helping growers implement cover crops, and opportunities and challenges going forward.

Download the slide presentation (PDF): Perdue AgriBusiness, Cover Crops - Smyre

This session was part of Cover Crops for Soil Health, a three-day professional development workshop hosted by Northeast SARE and Delaware State University in March 2016. All session recordings are available online.

Find more practical information about cover crops in the Cover Crops Topic Room.

A graduate of Penn State University with a BS in Agronomy, Scott Rushe has been in employed in agriculture all of his life. His employment has taken him from working with West Coast seed companies where he developed distribution of their genetics, worked directly with their seed growers, and evaluated new genetics to his current position with Seedway. At Seedway Scott is responsible for providing technical knowledge to Seedway staff and customers, evaluating and selecting new genetics to market from New England to Florida, collaborating with Universities on research trials, and representing Seedway in numerous professional organizations. Scott has held positions with the Pennsylvania Ag Council, Pennsylvania Forage and Grassland Council, and now serves on the Working Board of the American Seed Trade Association’s Cover Crop Group.

Ramona Garner is the Plant Materials Specialist for the USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service’s East National Technology Support Center in Greensboro, NC. She has worked in the NRCS Plant Materials Program for 25 years as both an agronomist and a center manager. Ramona is presently working with NRCS plant materials centers across the country to identify ways to improve our use of cover crops. A study at six centers extending from the east to west coast is evaluating seeding rates and species mixes and how they may influence soil health. Another study at 25 centers is evaluating the adaptability of 52 cultivars from 8 cover crop species. Ramona grew up on a family farm in Alabama and received her PhD in Agronomy from Clemson University.

Andrew Smyre is an agronomist for Perdue AgriBusiness, a division of the Perdue Company that specializes in sourcing, purchasing and processing grains, meals and blended feed ingredients, and high-quality oils for use in food and non-food industries. The company also provides agronomic consulting services and support to grain and specialty oilseed crop producers. Andrew graduated from Delaware Valley University in 2008 with a B.S. in Agronomy. After graduating, he worked on the family farm and lived in Alaska with his wife and two dogs.

Complete session recordings