“Tillage, Technology & Environmental Stewardship” is the theme for the 2009 Illinois Regional Tillage Seminars, to be held in January at three locations throughout Illinois.

“This year we’re going to focus on technology and environmental stewardship associated with adopting a no-till and strip-till farming system,” says Bob Frazee, University of Illinois Extension natural resources educator. “To that end, we’ve brought in three of the nation’s foremost experts on no-till/strip-till, to speak to our producers.”

Clay Mitchell, considered around the country to be an innovator in precision agriculture, will speak on how to manage no-till/strip-till for weed shifts and resistance, as well as the use of controlled-traffic, aligned farming systems with long-term no-till/strip-till and its effects on the soil. Mitchell farms on a 2,500-acre centennial farm in Northeast Iowa.

A second speaker, Dr. Jerry Hatfield, is the director of the National Soil Tilth Lab in Ames, Iowa. Hatfield will discuss the role of tillage on carbon sequestration.

“Conservation tillage stores, or sequesters, carbon in the soil as organic matter,” says Frazee. “It’s one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. It also saves labor and fuel costs, it reduces soil erosion and it preserves nutrients. It’s a win-win situation.”

Barry Fischer, state agronomist for the Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service, will speak on no-till planter set-up and equipment modifications and no-till management.

“Barry has a passion for no-till that is contagious,” says Frazee. “His enthusiasm sells no-till and conservation on the farm.”

Other tillage seminar topics include discussions on the impact of climate on crops, the 2008 Farm Bill and conservation payments, state cost-share and technical assistance programs, as well as the 2008 cropping season in review.

Certified crop advisers can receive five continuing education credit hours (3.5 in soil and water management, one in pest management and .5 in crop management) for participation in a seminar. The seminar in Princeton will feature machinery dealers and seed, chemical and other agri-businesses as exhibitors.

Each seminar will run from 8 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. The fee for these seminars is $20/person and pre-registration is required. The deadline is one week prior to each scheduled meeting. Please send your name, address, county, location of meeting and registration fee to the appropriate Extension unit. Please make checks payable to University of Illinois. Online credit card registrations may be made at the Web sites listed below.

The dates and locations for the seminars are as follows:

Jan. 27: Interstate Center, Bloomington, IL. Send registrations to: McLean Extension, 402 N. Hershey Road, Bloomington, IL 61704. Phone: 309-663-8306. Online credit card registration: http://www.mcleanextension.org.

Jan. 28: The Galleria, Princeton, IL. Send registrations to: Bureau Extension, 850 Thompson St., Princeton, IL 61356. Phone: 815-875-2878. Online credit card registration: http://www.web.extension.uiuc.edu/bureau/.

Jan. 29: Kishwaukee College, Malta, IL. Send registrations to: Rockford Extension Center, 1601 Parkview Avenue, Rockford, IL 61107. Phone: 815-395-5710. Online credit card registration: http://web.extension.uiuc.edu/rockfordcenter/.

The 2009 Illinois Regional Tillage Seminars are sponsored by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, University of Illinois Extension, AISWCD, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Soil and Water Conservation Districts.

For more information, contact Frazee at 309-694-7501, Ext. 226; or Alan Gulso, water quality coordinator, Illinois Department of Agriculture, at 217-782-6297.