“We are running out of dirt, and it’s no laughing matter.”
So says Dr. David Montgomery, professor of earth and space sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, and author of Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations.
Montgomery, who sees the recent rise of no-till farming as “the hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations,” is one of the keynote speakers at the sixth World Congress on Conservation Agriculture (WCCA6), to be held in Winnipeg June 22-25.
Another keynote speaker is Howard Buffett, chair of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a private family foundation working to improve the standard of living and quality of life for the world’s most impoverished and marginalized populations, and author of several books on conservation. Buffett also operates a 1,400-acre family farm in central Illinois and oversees research farms in Illinois and South Africa.
The conference will end with an address by Dwayne Beck, manager of the Dakota Lakes Research Farm in South Dakota, and well-known speaker on the principles of putting conservation into action to minimize costs maximize returns.
Organizers say that will be an overall theme of WCCA6, and it will be programmed differently than previous conferences, with more emphasis on highlighting innovations and grower success stories. There are three main conference themes:
- Growing more, more efficiently — sustainable intensification
- Weatherproof your crop — climate-resilient systems
- Increasing adoption through innovation — knowledge sharing and faster implementation
WCCA6 will also include an exhibit hall and resource centre featuring displays of the latest conservation-related technologies and resources and an opportunity to connect with international researchers and adopters in conservation agriculture.
The Great Plains of the U.S. and Canada saw some of the earliest development of tools and techniques for reducing tillage and reducing erosion, and WCCA6 will be followed by a one-day tour of southern Manitoba and a three-day tour of western Manitoba and South and North Dakota.
Billed as the “premier international forum for broad discussion of the ideas, issues and impacts of sustainable crop production,” WCCA6 marks the first time this event will be held in North America. The fifth WCCA was held in Brisbane, Australia in 2011.
Early-bird reservation discounts of 25 per cent are available until April 1; there are also discounts for farmers and students. For more information or to register, visit the congress’ website. — AGCanada.com Network