OAK Conference
Hopkinsville Agenda

March 17-18, 2022

Sowing seeds for healthy soils, resilient farms and thriving communities

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Thursday, March 17 12pm-4pm CST

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Tour: Rainbow Dairy Farm

Guthrie, KY

Organic Dairy Farm Tour

On this farm tour, learn from Melvin and Nathan Troyer how they got started in organics and what it has done for the health of their herd, their farmland, and their bottom line! Visit their compost-bedded pack barn and their new milking parlor. Learn about the Troyers' strategies for maximizing forage quality and their improved organic crop rotations.

1 - 3pm CT
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Tour: Kentucky Organic Farm and Feed Inc. (KOFFI)

Guthrie, KY

Expanding Opportunities in Kentucky Through Organic Feed Grains

For over a decade, KOFFI has been a primary and growing source of organic feed for our region. What started as a small cooperative, supplying feed for local dairies, has now expanded to supply farms across 14 states. Over time, the mill's demand for certified organic grains has profited more and more Kentucky farmers - and the demand is growing faster than the supply! Learn how this cooperative business got its start, hear about the big impacts (and opportunities!) for local and regional farms, and see the inner workings of the mill systems and what it takes to mix, bag and deliver feed.

3 - 4 pm CT

Friday, March 18 8:30am-4:15pm CST

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KEYNOTE: John Kempf

Advancing Eco Agriculture

Untapped Opportunities in Food Production

We consistently harvest only a fraction of the yields and quality our crops are capable of. In this presentation, John will describe how to release untapped genetic potential, while regenerating soil and plant health at the same time.

11:15 - 12:30 pm CT
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John Kempf

Advancing Eco Agriculture

Balancing Soil Health, Plant Health and ROI

In this presentation John will describe how nutrient imbalances are often caused by excessive fertilizer applications at the wrong times. He will also discuss how the form of nutrients applied to a crop determines future availability (including how most commercial products actually reduce availability).

8:30 - 10:45 am CT
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Guy Jodarski

Organic Valley

Livestock as Part of a Healthy and Resilient Organic System

Building healthy organic livestock farms, in a time of climate extremes, starts with the soil and includes the entire diversity of life within the ecosystem. Through the use of animals in any farming system, we build resilience for our farm. Dr Guy will speak to supporting animal health as essential to this resilience - including a focus on parasite management, fly control, and awareness of potential new disease threats. Although primarily based in solutions for dairy cattle, this presentation will provide benefit to any ruminant livestock farmers.

1:30 - 2:45 pm CT
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Meggan Hain

Organic Valley

Kentucky Livestock Farmers: Riding the Roller Coaster

Over the past decades, Kentucky weather is getting wetter and warmer, and wilder! Dr. Meggan will offer practical solutions for what livestock farmers can do to prepare for extreme weather such as heat, cold-wet winters, and extreme events such as tornadoes, floods, heavy snow, and drought.

3:00 - 4:15 pm CT
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Rebecca McCulley

University of Kentucky, Department of Plant and Soil Sciences 

Climatic Resiliency of Kentucky Forage Systems

Kentucky's climate is changing. How will this impact forage systems? Will Kentucky's current forage species adapt to future conditions? Will certain species win and others lose? What consequences will that have for grazing animals? This session will explore how warming and altered precipitation are likely to impact Kentucky pastures. We will evaluate possible forage responses and attempt to predict the effects on forage production and animal performance. We will end with considering implications for Kentucky forage-based agroecosystems and identifying farm management strategies that might be employed to mitigate or capitalize on future changes.

1:30 - 2:45 pm CT
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Krista Jacobsen

University of Kentucky, Department of Horticulture

Sustaining Soil Health in High Tunnels

In this session, Krista will talk about strategies and the state-of-the-science for maintaining healthy and productive high tunnel soils. She will draw from lessons learned from research at UK on movable and stationary high tunnels, maximizing cover crops while maintaining profitable crop rotations, and strategies to manage salts, organic matter and crop fertility. She will also discuss high tunnel soil and water testing and fertility management specific to organic high tunnels.

3:00 - 4:15 pm CT