Tag Archives: mccc

Field guide wins ACE gold award

The Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide won a gold award for technical publications from the Association for Communication Excellence (ACE). The ACE Critique and Awards (C&A) program recognizes individuals and teams for excellence in communication and technology skills.

The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) produced the publication. The MCCC is a diverse group from academia, production agriculture, nongovernmental organizations, commodity interests, the private sector, and federal and state agencies collaborating to address soil, water, air and agricultural quality concerns in the Great Lakes and Mississippi river basins.

Michigan State University senior Extension educator, MSU adjunct professor of plant, soil and microbial sciences, and cover crop IPM Extension specialist Dale Mutch is on the executive committee representing MSU Extension for the MCCC.

The field guide is a compilation of cover crop species and application information, which has sold more than 15,000 copies since its February 2012 release. This guide helps producers effectively select, grow and use cover crops in their farming systems.

You can purchase this pocket guide through the Purdue Crop Diagnostic and Training Center at https://ag.purdue.edu/agry/dtc/Pages/CCFG.aspx.

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Midwest Cover Crops Council receives national award

The Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) received the No-Till Innovator Award in the “Organization” category at the 21st National No-Tillage Conference that took place Jan. 9–12 in Indianapolis.

The MCCC is a diverse group from academia, production agriculture, nongovernmental organizations, commodity interests, the private sector, and federal and state agencies collaborating to address soil, water, air and agricultural quality concerns in the Great Lakes and Mississippi river basins.

The MCCC has had a tremendous impact across the Midwest on promoting cover crops. As a diverse organization, they have conducted research, educational programs and field days around no-till farming and cover crops throughout the region in the U.S. and Canada.

Michigan State University senior Extension educator Dale Mutch is the Michigan state coordinator for the MCCC. Dale is also an MSU adjunct professor of crop, soil and microbial sciences, a cover crop IPM Extension specialist and Michigan state coordinator of the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (NCR-SARE) Professional Development Program (PDP).

Eileen Kladivko (left), and adjunct professor Dale Mutch (center), receive the No-Till Innovator Award for the Organization category.

Purdue University professor Eileen Kladivko (left), and Michigan State University senior Extension educator and MSU adjunct professor Dale Mutch (center), receive the No-Till Innovator Award for the Organization category from Chuck Leonard of Syngenta. The two received the award on behalf of the Midwest Cover Crops Council and the Executive Committee at the 21st National No-Tillage Conference held Jan. 9–12, 2013, in Indianapolis, Ind.
Photo credit: Randall Reeder, Ohio State.

The MCCC has an annual meeting every year in one of the participating states or provinces to plan and present new cover crop information across the North Central Region. The group promotes field day events, proceedings of annual meetings and new information about cover crops through their Web site at www.mccc.msu.edu. The MCCC’s Listserv with more than 300 users allows farmers, educators and others to ask cover crop questions and to get immediate answers.

The MCCC headed the creation of a cover crop selector tool, funded by Project GREEEN and developed by MSU Extension senior research associate Dean Baas, that allows farmers, agribusinesses and others to choose cover crops for their farming systems. You can read a previous Spotlight article on the field crop selector tool. Since that March 2011 article, they’ve developed a cover crop selector tool for vegetable producers active since May 2012.

The MCCC also compiled cover crop species and application information to produce the Midwest Cover Crops Field Guide, which has sold more than 10,000 copies since its February 2012 release.

Now in its 17th year, the No-Till Innovator Award Program is jointly sponsored by No-Till Farmer magazine and Syngenta. The program was developed to recognize individuals who have made significant contributions to the advancement of no-till farming, regardless of the crop grown or brand of equipment or chemicals used.

Congratulations to the council and thanks to Dale for his leadership! See photo on my blog.

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Cover Crops Council wins Project of Excellence Award

In last week’s Spotlight, I highlighted the cover crop selector tool, an online tool developed by Michigan State University Extension and the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC). The National Water program at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture noticed the work of the MCCC and awarded the council with their Project of Excellence Award. Congratulations to Dale Mutch, senior Extension educator and Extension specialist, and his colleagues. Read more about it in the comment I made on my blog.

 I also had a suggestion from another reader to consider adding an economic analysis to the cover crop selector tool. Sounds like a great idea – there’s always room for improvement in any of our products and services.

 By the way, you are welcome to comment on any article on the blog. Just click on “leave a comment” under the article.

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New online tool available to assist farmers

As we continue to seek ways to innovate and to serve broader audiences through technology, it’s great to have an example to illustrate what can be done. Online applications need to do more than just present information in a static way. They need to engage users to analyze information and help to make decisions. A team of folks from Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) and the Midwest Cover Crops Council (MCCC) has released an online tool that does all of that and more. The purpose of their new “app” is to help farmers in Michigan and the Midwest region decide which cover crops are best for them. MSUE developers aim to increase Michigan (and regional) cover crop adoption by providing information and decision-making help necessary for farmers to successfully use cover crops. The tool, developed by MSUE for each MCCC member state and province, provides farmers with information and choices specific to their states or provinces. Michigan, Ohio and Indiana are available in the current version, while Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Ontario will be added as their development is completed.

 The cover crop selector tool allows the user to input a variety of information including his or her state, county, cash crop information, field information and desired cover crop benefits. Designed to be user friendly, it has a dynamic interface that allows users to immediately see how their input changes their cover crop options. A user can generate an information sheet for a selected cover crop that provides additional information and references relevant to application within the state or province.

 The tool development drew on state-specific knowledge from cover crop experts and stakeholders including farmers, researchers, Extension educators, agribusiness representatives and government agencies, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and state departments of agriculture. Dale Mutch, Dean Baas and Victoria Ackroyd are leading the MCCC decision tool project through MSUE. On the Michigan development team from MSU and MSUE were Christina Curell, Tim Dietz, Paul Gross, Tim Harrigan, Rich Leep, Todd Martin, Vicki Morrone, Mathieu Ngouajio, Dan Rajzer, Karen Renner, Dan Rossman, Sieg Snapp, Erin Taylor and Kurt Thelen.

 For Michigan, the next phase is to develop the cover crop decision tool for vegetable producers. This regional project received funding from a NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant in partnership with the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC), MSU Project GREEEN and Great Lakes Regional Water Program grants. For more information, contact Dean Baas at baasdean@msu.edu or 269-671-2412, ext. 260.

 Download the cover crop selector tool at http://mccc.msu.edu/SelectorTool/2011CCSelectorTool.pdf. Or you can go to it directly at http://mcccdev.anr.msu.edu/. Even if you don’t have anything to do with crops or agriculture, I think it’s useful to explore applications like this and think of ways you and your work team can develop decision tools for clients you serve.

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