UACES Facebook Healthy soils, cover crops, irrigation on agenda for Feb. 25 meeting in McGehee
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Healthy soils, cover crops, irrigation on agenda for Feb. 25 meeting in McGehee

By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Jan. 30, 2020 

Fast facts

  • Feb. 25 meeting to be held at McGehee
  • No cost to attend
  • RSVP to Debbie Moreland, 501-425-2891

(443 words)

McGEHEE, Ark. – Better cotton starts with better soil. Growers can learn how to improve what’s underfoot at a joint meeting with Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton and the Arkansas Soil Health Alliance on Feb. 25 in McGehee.

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The meeting, held at Hoots BBQ, 2008 U.S. 65, opens at 8:30 a.m. and runs through 3 p.m. Attendance is free, but attendees are asked to register for the event by calling Debbie Moreland at 1-501-425-2891. While geared toward cotton producers, all farmers are invited to attend. Lunch will be provided.

“Soil is more than just an anchor for plants,” Matt Fryer, extension soil health instructor for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said. “It’s a matrix that provides nutrients and water, all supported by a complex system of microbes, fungi and soil organisms such as earthworms.

“Maintaining the health of this system is key to growing healthy and sustainable crops,” he said.

The joint meeting will include a farmer panel, lunch speaker and on-farm tour will help cotton growers evaluate and improve the impact of strong soil health management systems.

The agenda:

8:30-9:00         Registration and Coffee

9:00-9:10         Welcome and Introductions
                         Robby Bevis, Arkansas Soil Health Alliance president         
                         Mike Sullivan, Arkansas State Conservationist, USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service

9:10-9:40         Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton Project
                         David Lamm, Soil Health Institute

9:40-10:10       Soil Health Benefits
                          Willie Durham, soil health specialist USDA NRCS

10:10-10:40     How to Effectively Apply for NRCS Funding
                          Jena Moore, assistant state conservationist for programs, USDA NRCS

10:40-10:50     Break

10:50-11:20     Water Use Dynamics with Cover Crops
                          Mike Hamilton – extension irrigation instructor, NRCS and Division of Agriculture

11:20-12:00     Arkansas Producer Panel
                          Sam Whitaker, Steve Stevens, Robby Bevis
                          Facilitator: Matt Fryer, extension soil health instructor, Division of Agriculture

12:00-1:00       Lunch

                        Utilizing Cover Crops on my Farm
                        Adam Chappell, Arkansas farmer

1:30-3:00         Stevens/Kirkpatrick Farm Tour
                         240 Stevens Rd, Tiller, AR 71670

Equipment overview

                        Steve Stevens

Soil Health Sampling and Discussion

                        Matt Fryer, extension soil health instructor, Division of Agriculture
                        Steve Green, professor of soils and water, Arkansas State University       

“Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton” is supported through the generosity of the Wrangler® brand, the VF Corporation Foundation, and the Walmart Foundation. The integrated Healthy Soils for Sustainable Cotton and Arkansas Soil Health Alliance Annual Meeting has been created by the Arkansas Soil Health Alliance. 

Mention of commercial and brand names does not imply endorsement by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

About the Soil Health Institute

The Soil Health Institute ( is a non-profit whose mission is to safeguard and enhance the vitality and productivity of soil through scientific research and advancement. The Institute works with its many stakeholders to identify gaps in research and adoption; develop strategies, networks and funding to address those gaps; and ensure beneficial impact of those investments to agriculture, the environment and society.

About the Arkansas Soil Health Alliance

The Arkansas Soil Health Alliance is a non-profit that supports a heightened focus on the importance of soil health on a local, state and national level; educates diverse audiences (from policy makers to the public) about the value and importance of healthy soils; and networks and leverages resources and knowledge among conservation partners and organizations.

About Wrangler®

Wrangler® apparel is available nationwide in mass market retailers, specialty stores, including work apparel chains, farm & fleet, and western stores, as well as through online and catalog retailers. To find a retailer or for more information on the Wrangler family of products, visit or call 888.784.8571.

About VF Corporation

VF Corporation outfits consumers around the world with its diverse portfolio of iconic lifestyle brands, including Vans®, The North Face®Timberland®, Wrangler® and Lee®. Founded in 1899, VF is one of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies with socially and environmentally responsible operations spanning numerous geographies, product categories and distribution channels. VF is committed to delivering innovative products to consumers and creating long-term value for its customers and shareholders. For more information, visit

About Philanthropy at Walmart

By using our strengths to help others, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation create opportunities for people to live better every day. Walmart has stores in 27 countries, employing more than 2.2 million associates and doing business with thousands of suppliers who, in turn, employ millions of people. Our philanthropy helps people live better by supporting upward job mobility and economic development for the retail workforce; addressing hunger and making healthier, more sustainably-grown food a reality; and building strong communities where Walmart operates and inspiring our associates to give back. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system. 

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.  

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. 

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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
(501) 671-2006