ARA: CTIC—large impact on agriculture

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The Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) has a handful of skilled staff that has a very large impact on agriculture. When it comes to making informed decisions, our nation’s growers rely on retailers and agronomic service providers as a trusted source for materials and counsel. CTIC serves not only as an information source and convener for agriculture, but also as a “spokesperson” showcasing conservation technologies and practices and facilitating efforts with stakeholders for greater engagement.

CTIC began in 1982 as a group dedicated to promoting no-till agriculture. Thirty years later, it has become one of the premier conservation agriculture organizations in the country with conservation technology implementation and outreach at the core of its mission. Currently led by Executive Director Karen Scanlon, CTIC brings diverse stakeholders together to make tremendous strides in promoting the use of conservation in agricultural operations throughout the United States.

CTIC continues to champion and provide information on sustainable growing systems. The growing Watershed Implementation and Innovation Network (WIIN) provides an online forum for sharing information to strengthen watershed projects throughout the Mississippi River Basin, and CTIC’s annual Conservation in

Action (CIA) Tour gives a boots-on-the-ground perspective on conservation techniques. CTIC connects producers, industry representatives, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, media and others to share information and advance conservation agriculture systems through field tours, projects, panel discussions, publications and its website.

This year’s tour of the Indian Creek Watershed in Central Illinois was a perfect example of why CTIC is so effective in the education of both stakeholders and agricultural retailers and manufacturers. The tour highlighted various conservation techniques, such as rotational grazing with beef cattle, cover crop selection to achieve desired soil effects, no-till’s effect on soil structure and drainage water management. The 270-plus participants of the tour gained vital insight into how planting cover crops will help fulfill the nitrogen needs of the crop to follow, which in turn allows for more efficient nitrogen fertilizer use. Participants were also given the opportunity to see how manufacturers and local retailers are working together to promote products and practices with documented agronomic benefits, such as the 4Rs, which deal with applying the right nutrient source in the right place at the right time and at the right rate.

The average American citizen is unaware of what it takes to produce the food they consume.

This is what makes groups like CTIC so valuable. As proponents of agriculture, we need to promote the benefits of our scientifically documented practices, the use of cutting-edge technology and our desire to provide America with the food, fuel and fiber it needs to lead the world. CTIC is playing a vital role in telling agriculture’s story by  providing information on the science and technology behind conservation agriculture systems that are used today to achieve our goal of supplying this nation’s food by the most efficient means possible. Learn more about CTIC and conservation agriculture and find out how you and your organization can become involved as a valued CTIC ember at

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