“Not your Father’s Cover Crops, and Not Your Father’s Corn Planter” Farmer Information Meeting

Not your Father’s Cover Crops, and

Not Your Father’s Corn Planter

Farmer Information Meeting

Hosted by Merrimack County Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service

March 8, 2018, 1:00 – 3:00 PM, in Concord

                Wondering what cover crop mixes are all about?  Have you heard your neighbor talk about trying new seed mixes?  Would you like to learn how local farmers are successfully using corn no-till in your area?  Please join us for this mid-winter discussion on what’s new and available for the 2018 season.  Merrimack County Conservation District (GCCD) and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) are holding a Farmers Information Meeting on Thursday, March 8, 2018 from 1:00 to 3:00PM at the NRCS Conference Room, 10 Ferry Street, Suite 211, Concord.  What to bring: your thoughts and experiences with cover crops and no-till planting to share with your neighbors.  We will have the experts in the room to discuss why cover crop mixes improve soil health and why moving beyond winter rye may improve your yields.

We’ll look at the results of the statewide cover crop mix trials started last year and will discuss how you can participate on your farm in 2018.  These specialized mixes are designed to prevent soil erosion, increase soil organic matter, reduce soil compaction, capture excess nutrients and fix nitrogen for crop growth.  We’re offering five cover crop mixes for trial: fallow vegetable fields, grazing mix for summer slump, nitrogen boost for vegetable crops, a winter soil builder for silage corn, and an easy spring management for silage corn.

There are also several equipment options available for 2018.  NH has four no-till planters with roller-crimpers for use across the state.  The roller-crimpers flatten the cover crop while no-till planting corn in a single pass, saving labor and fuel while reducing soil compaction.  The cover crop creates a mulch mat layer that reduces weed pressure, improves soil moisture retention and soil organic matter.  MCCD also has an aerator and lime/ wood ash spreader for rent.  NH Conservation Districts are offering funding and technical assistance to farmers interested in adapting their own corn planters to no-till.

Thinking about soil health and ready to take the next step?  We will have more information on this opportunity at the Farmer Information Meeting.  Please contact Stacy at MCCD by phone (603) 223-6020 or email:info@merrimackccd.org for more information and to register for this meeting.

Dorn Cox, local farmer and SCCD supervisor, wins national conservation award!

We are very happy to share that Dorn Cox has received an award at this year’s National Association of Conservation District’s (NACD) annual meeting held in Nashville, Tennessee. Dorn received the inaugural Hugh Hammond Bennett Excellence in Conservation Award. Cox serves as the vice-chair of the Strafford County Conservation District and is vice president of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts. Cox is a NACD Soil Health Champion, a pioneer of the Resource Stewardship Evaluation Tool (RSET), FarmOS, and emphasizes conservation outreach and education efforts. (for more on the awards click here)

NACD’s Soil Health Champion network was started in 2015 to promote soil education and outreach. You can learn more about this network, and find webinars they offer on their website.

Dorn has been a leader in a new collaboration effort in New Hampshire called the Soil Health Working Group. This group is comprised of NRCS staff, District Managers, UNH Cooperative Extension and NHACD staff. Currently, they are working on no-till cover cropping projects throughout the state. Last year, with funding from an NRCS Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG), three new roller crimper planters were delivered to New Hampshire, and we are in the process of ordering a fourth. Simultaneously, NRCS staff have been working with farmers across the state on seed mix trials for cover crops.

Dorn shares “I am deeply humbled and honored by this award. I would like to accept it on behalf of all the soil health efforts across the country- especially my friends in New Hampshire (NHACD and NRCS), Maine and New York!  It is astonishing how much we have accomplished over the last decade, and yet Soil Health is a multi-generational team sport, a shared human endeavour – And we are just getting  started!”

I look forward to what we accomplish when we harness the on-farm innovation and inspiration yet to come!  Thank you”

Congratulations Dorn!


Oct. 31: Nitrogen, Septic Systems, Great Bay and Why it Matters

Date: October 31, 2017

Time: 8:00am-12:00pm

Location: Hugh Gregg Coastal Conservation Center 91 Depot Road Greenland, NH 03840  For printable Directions

This workshop will include a review of the nitrogen cycle and why it matters to seacoast communities, a summary of state and local regulations on nitrate in septic systems and ground-water,  a review of on-site septic systems that remove nitrogen, an update on Permeable Reactive Barrier pilot projects, local watershed initiatives and more.

Registration is required. To RSVP CLICK HERE

For the workshop agenda click here

For a more detailed description of the workshop see our  workshop flyer

September 20: Introduction to Permaculture

Interested in improving your home’s grounds or gardens, growing food, or learning about ecology and design? Join us for this casual and informative talk led by Master Gardener Karen Tuininga of the NH Permaculture Guild. We’ll provide an overview of permaculture basics and history, techniques for applying permaculture principles to your daily life, as well as guidance on how to develop permaculture gardens and landscapes.

What: Introduction to Permaculture

When: September 20, 2017, 5pm to 7pm

Where: at the Friends of Farmington, 480 Main Street, Farmington NH 03835

RSVP on-linehttps://goo.gl/forms/SbIUd6zdiegX91mP2


Get a copy of the flyer by clicking here

August 23: Soil Health and Agriculture

Celebrate local agriculture with the Conservation District! Our 2017 Annual Meeting will feature presentations on the latest research, advancements, and opportunities relating to agriculture and soil health in New Hampshire.

The event will be at Brandmoore Farm on the Salmon Falls River in Rollinsford. There will be a potluck dinner with local rotisserie chicken provided by Vernon Family Farm.

Guest Speakers:

Nick Warren is a research scientist in the University of New Hampshire’s Agroecology Lab, headed by Dr. Richard Smith. The Agroecology lab studies a variety of topics including soil fauna, root morphology, forages, cover crops, silvopasture, and pesticide seed treatments. They are broadly interested in the ecology of our agricultural systems, and understanding the principles that could make our food systems more stable and productive in the long term.  Nick will give an overview of some of the recent and ongoing agricultural research at UNH.

Chad Cochrane is a Resource Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service with extensive experience in agronomy and conservation. He works with farmers, NRCS staff, and partners like the Conservation Districts on a variety of projects. Chad will give a presentation on some of the new statewide projects and programs relating to soil health, including no-till corn planter demonstrations, cover crop seed mix trials, and more.

Whether you farm, garden, or have an interest in local agriculture and natural resources, we hope you will join us for this casual and informative event.

When: August 23rd, 5 to 7 pm

Where: Brandmoore Farm, 70 Sligo Road, Rollinsford NH

Local Workgroup Meeting

Strafford County landowners, farmers, municipal, agency, non-profit employees and any others are invited to participate in our annual Local Workgroup Meeting.

The goal of the meeting is to identify natural resource priorities in Strafford County, and we typically hold these meetings every year or two. This year we are partnering with Rockingham County to hold a joint meeting.

With representatives from many groups and agencies, as well as farmers and landowners, together we will identify the County’s most important natural resource concerns. This will help determine local funding priories for our national partner, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS).

We can’t do it alone!  We know you could provide valuable input to this process.

The Local Work Group Meeting will be held on May 17th at 3pm, at the Jeremiah Smith Grange in Lee. 

Please contact Alena if you plan to attend, at 603-749-3037 or alena@straffordccd.org

Soil Health for Farmers and Gardeners

Join us for one of our upcoming soil health talks! These talks are geared towards gardeners and farmers who want to improve their soils. No previous knowledge about soil is needed, we’ll cover a bit of everything, from what soil is to the latest soil health research.

7pm, February 28, 2017 at the Dover Public Library, or

6pm, April 4, 2017 at the Goodwin Public Library in Farmington


2017 Spring Plant Sale


The deadline for ordering plants for the 2017 Spring Plant Sale has passed. If you missed it, you can still contact us to find out what we might still have available. Check out the catalog below. Plus, at the May 13th pick up day, we will have extra trees, shrubs, and bulbs for sale, and lots more plants from Farmfield Greenhouses!

We are offering a variety of low-cost shade trees, fruit trees, berry bushes, flower bulbs, and more! Our catalog changes every year, check it out below to see what’s new.

Orders are due March 17th, 2017. You’ll pick up your order on Saturday, May 13th at the Rochester Fairgrounds between 9am and 2pm. You can schedule an alternate pick up time if need be. 

If you have any trouble viewing or printing the catalog and order form, we are happy to mail them to you. Just call, email, or write and we will send it to your address.

(603) 749-3037  •  alena@straffordccd.org  •  264 County Farm Road, Dover NH 03820


Click Here for the Catalog

Click Here for the Order Form


Interested in creating a wildlife habitat area for songbirds, grouse, turkeys, bunnies, and other animals? We can help you get started with a low cost plant package specially designed for New Hampshire wildlife.

Click Here for the Wildlife Habitat Package

How to order:

Be sure to get your order form and payment in by March 17th. Contact us if you have any questions!

You can mail or email the order form to the address above.

To pay, you can mail a check made out to Strafford County Conservation District, or you can pay using a credit card, debit card, or PayPal account.

For a credit card, first add up the total amount you owe on your order form. You can call the office to pay with credit card over the phone, or use the yellow button below to pay online. On the next page, enter your total where it says “price per item.” You will be prompted to use a paypal account OR manually enter your credit card information. Make sure you email or mail us your order form. 


Want to help?

In the weeks leading up to May 13, we’ll need help organizing the plants. Have some free time? Why not spend a few hours organizing and caring for the trees, shrubs, and root cuttings with like-minded folks! It’s a great way to meet people, get to know the Conservation District, support conservation work, and get free snacks 😃. Just let Alena know you’re interested and we’ll organize a few volunteer days in late April and early May. We will also be organizing volunteer days to plant shrubs for New England cottontail habitat projects this spring. 

Thank you for supporting conservation in Strafford County!