Cover Crop Boot Camp

December 3-4

Join other row crop and livestock farmers for a virtual cover crop boot camp Dec. 3 and 4 from 9 a.m-noon. We’ll hear how cover crops can improve soil health, weed suppression and opportunities for livestock grazing. Come and advance your understanding of how cover crops can work for you. This event is FREE.


If you register by Nov. 13 you’ll receive a goodie box to enjoy during the boot camp.

Register here


Day 1: 9 a.m. – noon

9-9:05 a.m. | Welcome and introduction

9:05-9:55 a.m. | Digging into soil health 1.0 – improving field fitness with Andrea Basche and Mark Thompson (30 minutes)

  • Small group discussions (20 minutes)

9:55-10 a.m. | BREAK (5 minutes)

10-10:55 a.m. | Suppressing weeds 1.0 – herbicide adjustments with Ruth McCabe and Rob Stout (30 minutes)

  • Small group discussions (20 minutes)

10:55-11 a.m. | BREAK (5 minutes)

11-11:55 a.m. | Livestock lessons 1.0 – species selection and seeding dates with Nathan Anderson and Meghan Filbert (30 minutes)

  • Small group discussions (20 minutes)

11:55 a.m.-noon | Wrap-up

Day 2: 9 a.m.– noon

9-9:05 a.m. | Welcome and introduction

9:05-9:55 a.m. | Digging into Soil Health 2.0 – documenting progress with Jean Eells, Emily Waring and Morgan Davis (30 minutes)

  • Small group discussions (20 minutes)

9:55-10 a.m. | BREAK (5 minutes)

10-10:55 a.m. | Suppressing weeds 2.0 – long term success with Rick Clark and Gina Nichols (30 minutes)

  • Small group discussions (20 minutes)

10:55-11 a.m. | BREAK (5 minutes)

11-11:55 a.m. | Livestock lessons 2.0 – innovative ways to graze with Zack Smith and Mary Drewnoski (30 minutes)

  • Small group discussions (20 minutes)

11:55 a.m.-noon | Wrap-up

Speaker Information

Nathan Anderson and his wife Sarah run Bobolink Prairie Farms in Cherokee County, Iowa where they raise corn, soybeans, small grains, hay and cattle. Nathan and his family started using cover crops in 2012 across their entire farm both for the soil benefits and as forage for livestock. Cover crops are an integral component of the farm’s grazing management.

Andrea Basche is an Assistant Professor in Cropping Systems at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Department of Agronomy and Horticulture. Her research team is focused on developing and supporting resilient cropping systems for the region and includes a range of projects with expanding the use of cover crops in annual crop systems, soil health management systems and perennial crops such as kernza. She also teaches undergraduate courses in crop management.

Rick Clark and his family farm 7,000 acres in Warren County, Indiana where they raise corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. Rick and his family have been using cover crops for 10 years and are 100% no-till. More recently, Rick has been transitioning the farm to organic. Cover crops are an essential component of his ability to cease using herbicides.

Morgan Davis is an Assistant Professor at The University of Missouri School of Natural Resources. Davis’ research is centered around soil biogeochemistry in the context of ecological sustainability. As a graduate student at Iowa State University, Davis led research that measured nitrate leaching, soil health indicators and greenhouse gas emissions to examine the tradeoffs and benefits of stacking cover crop and no-till conservation practices.

Dr. Mary Drewnoski is an associate professor in the department of animal science at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Dr. Drewnoski’s research is centered around integrating crop and livestock systems and a large part of her research program is focused on using cover crop forage for cattle grazing.

Jean Eells shares farmland with her siblings and has been taking the lead role working with their tenants in getting cover crops on the farm since 2016. She also has facilitated more than 200 meetings with women farmland owners across more than a dozen states and has collected stories of communicating with tenants to get the jobs done!

Meghan Filbert is PFI’s livestock program manager. Her expertise includes livestock integration into cropping systems, adaptive and holistic grazing, cover crop grazing, and meat marketing. Meghan is a beginning farmer in central Iowa where she uses goats and sheep to reclaim Iowa’s native oak savanna ecosystem.

Ruth McCabe has a B.S. in Applied Plant Science from the University of Minnesota and an M.S. in Crop Production and Physiology from Iowa State University. She is a conservation agronomist for Heartland Cooperative in the Middle Cedar Watershed and is a Certified Professional Agronomist and an Iowa CCA. Ruth has focused her research and career on increasing support and visibility for sustainable agriculture in the Midwest.

Gina Nichols is a doctoral student in the department of Agronomy at Iowa State University where she researches the benefits of diversified cropping systems. Much of her recent work has looked at the effects of cover crops on weeds.

Zack Smith farms in Winnebago county, Iowa where he has raised corn and soybeans utilizing strip till and cover crops since 2014. Recently, Zack and his business partner, Sheldon Stevermer, have come up with a new innovative system called Stock Cropping that cross leverages livestock and row crops in the same field space to increase farm profitability, soil health, lessen carbon footprint and expand economic opportunities for rural communities.

Rob Stout farms in Washington County, Iowa where he raises corn, soybeans, small grains and pigs. Rob has been using no-till since 1983 and cover crops since 2009 to improve soil health and conservation. Rob evaluates his cover crop practices using on-farm research and is one of the few farms in Iowa to have long-term (10+ years) research plots comparing cover-cropped and non-cover-cropped portions of his fields.

Mark Thompson earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Studies and Farm Operation from Iowa State University and has been farming since 1983. He currently manages and operates a 900-acre corn, soybean, hay and small grain operation in Humboldt and Webster Counties. He has worked as a professional farm manager at Sunderman Farm Mgt. Co. since 1990. Mark has worked hard over the years to promote soil health and soil conservation.

Emily Waring is a graduate student working for Dr. Matt Helmers in the Ag Water Management Group at Iowa State University. Her research focuses on cover crops and no-till, and their impacts on tile drainage water quality and soil health.

This event is funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and is made possible by the following organizations:

Practical Farmers of Iowa, Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers, Department of Ag and Land Stewardship, Iowa Ag Water Alliance, Iowa Corn Growers, Iowa Learning Farms, Iowa Pork Producers, Iowa Seed Association, Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa State University, NRCS, and Soil Health Partnership.


Contact Lydia English at or call our office at (515) 232-5661