Published Nov 23, 2020

Virtual cover crop boot camp will explore soil health, weed control and grazing – Dec. 3-4

By Tamsyn Jones


Lydia English | Strategic Initiatives Coordinator | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

Sarah Carlson | Strategic Initiatives Director | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

AMES, Iowa —  Registration is open for Practical Farmers of Iowa’s second annual cover crop boot camp. The event is free, and will be held virtually Dec. 3-4 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The two-day workshop will explore how cover crops boost soil health, improve weed control and provide grazing opportunities. Row crop and livestock farmers of all cover crop experience levels are invited to attend.

Certified crop advisor participants can earn one continuing education unit (CEU) for each session, for a total of six credits in the soil and water category across both days.

Registration is open until Dec. 3. To sign up, visit cover-crop-boot-camp. Farmers without access to a computer or reliable internet connection will have the option of calling in to participate. For questions – or technical support with Zoom or the call-in option – contact Lydia English at or (515) 232-5661.

Boot Camp Agenda

Attendees will hear from a combination of farmers, university researchers and agricultural professionals. Day one will focus on the basics of cover crops in each topic area, and will provide a good introduction for those just getting started with cover crops. Sessions this day will explore:

  • how cover crops improve water storage
  • initial adjustments farmers should consider if they wish to use cover crops for suppressing weeds
  • the ways in which cover crops link the forage chain for livestock grazing.

Day two will feature more advanced strategies for those row crop and livestock farmers wanting to advance their cover crop journey. Participants will learn:

  • how cover crops affect soil biology, as well as how to measure soil health on their own farm
  • the ways that cover crops improve weed control over the long-term
  • innovative ways to graze cover crops, including stock cropping

Each presentation will be followed by 20-minute small-group discussions, where participants will have a chance to network with one another and share their experience using cover crops.

“These breakout discussions will be a fun way for farmers to interact with and learn from one another,” says Sarah Carlson, PFI’s strategic initiatives director. “They will also help to overcome Zoom meeting burnout by creating deeper connections between farmers.”

Farmers are encouraged to attend both days of the boot camp, but may also attend just the day that best suits their experience level. More details, including the full agenda and speaker information, are available at cover-crop-boot-camp.

The cover crop boot camp is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is made possible by the support of Agribusiness Association of Iowa; Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Corn Growers Association; Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship; Iowa Learning Farms; Iowa Pork Producers Association; Iowa Seed Association; Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative; Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University; Natural Resources Conservation Service; and Soil Health Partnership.


Practical Farmers of Iowa works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Our values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources. To learn more, visit