Farmers invited on four-day bus trip to Dave Brandt’s farm in Ohio – Aug. 3-6

For Release: June 28, 2017


Meghan Filbert | Livestock Coordinator | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | meghan@practicalfarmers.org

Tamsyn Jones | Outreach & Publications Coordinator | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | tamsyn@practicalfarmers.org

AMES, Iowa — Dave Brandt is often referred to in farming circles as a cover crop guru, an early adopter or a cover crop innovator. And while the Ohio-based farmer has been using cover crops extensively on his 1,250-acre farm for nearly 40 years, his decision to start planting cover crops in 1978 was purely a practical one.

“We began using cover crops because we saw, in 1976, a reduction in our corn yields,” Dave says. “We had no way to do tillage because we didn’t have time. We looked for ways of doing it with cover crops to release some nutrients and also improve water drainage through the soil profile.”

Today, the Brandt family grows grain and cover crops on 900 of their farm’s acres, near Carroll in central Ohio’s Fairfield County. Dave has been no-tilling continuously since 1971 and conducts on-farm research, including yield trials for row crops, small grains and cover crop varieties. He recently finished a new seed cleaning facility for corn, beans, small grains and grasses.

Dave also operates Walnut Creek Seeds, a business that cleans and sells organic seed, and through which he seeks to promote soil health and improved land management practices through the use of cover crops.

To help Iowa farmers connect with and learn from Dave’s expertise, Practical Farmers of Iowa has organized a four-day bus trip to visit Dave Brandt’s farm (6100 Basil Western Rd., Carroll, Ohio, 43112). The trip runs from Thursday, Aug. 3 to Sunday, Aug. 6, and will offer participants an in-depth chance to learn about growing and managing cover crops from one of the country’s most knowledgeable cover crop farmers.

Attendees will spend Thursday traveling. On Friday, guests will spend the day on Dave’s farm learning about diverse cover crop varieties, crop rotation, seed production, seed cleaning and soil health. Guests will see a cover crop planting demonstration and a research plot growing new varieties of winter peas, oats, barley and rye.

The next day, Dave will take the group on a tour of Fairfield County to see a forage-finishing beef operation that plants Dave’s cover crop varieties for winter feed, as well as a few other agricultural points of interest along the way – including a restored gristmill from the early 1800s and a covered bridge. Sunday will be spent on the return trip.

Logistics and Cost: The event is only open to Practical Farmers members – but non-members are welcome to join in order to attend. Seating is limited and registration is required by Friday, July 14. To register, visit practicalfarmers.org or call (515) 232-5661. The cost, including lodging, is $250 per person for a two-person shared room, or $167 per person for a three-person shared room.

Snacks will be provided during the 10-hour bus trip, but lunch and dinner are not included. Attendees are welcome to bring their own food. There will be space for coolers on the bus, and scheduled stops to purchase food along the way. Breakfast will be offered at the hotel, and lunch will be provided at Dave’s farm. Dinner is not included.

Practical Farmers will pick up participants in Ames and Iowa City. The bus will depart Ames at 10 a.m. on Aug. 3, from Quality Inn & Suites Starlite Village Conference Center (2601 E 13th St.). Guests are asked to park on the east or west sides of the building, not in the front. The bus will leave from Iowa City at 12:30 p.m., from the Sharpless Auction parking lot (5049 Herbert Hoover Hwy NE). Please park in the north end of the lot.

Practical Farmers’ 2017 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Ag Ventures Alliance; Albert Lea Seed; Center for Rural Affairs; Fertrell; Gandy Cover Crop Seeders; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa Environmental Council; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; Iowa Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); ISU Extension and Outreach; La Crosse Forage and Turf Seed; Lemken; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; MOSA Organic Certification; Natural Resources Defense Council; Organic Valley / Organic Prairie; Riverside Feeds, LLC; The Scoular Company; Trees Forever; Unilever; University of Iowa College of Public Health (I-CASH); Upper Iowa Audubon Society; USDA: Natural Resources Conservation Service; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; and Welter Seed & Honey Co.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit https://www.practicalfarmers.org.