June 15, 2007

Mined land is not lost land, says Purdue expert

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Surface Mine Reclamation Field Day on June 28 in Bicknell, Ind., will help growers and others learn to better manage reclaimed mined land.

"Negative thoughts are often associated with mined land," said Mark Evans, Purdue University Cooperative Extension educator in Owen and Clay counties. "Today, coal companies are doing a much better job about returning soils in a way to minimize the impact on the environment.

"New techniques and management enable producers to return to productive soils in a relatively short period of time."

Landowners and farmers can learn to increase production by practicing no-till, using cover crops and adding organic matter to the soil, said Evans, also a team member planning the field day.

The field day will provide cutting-edge technological information and be of particular help to those directly associated with agricultural production on surface coal mined and reclaimed lands, Evans said.

"Our goal is to help farmers understand how to manage these soils that have been disturbed," he said. 

Topics will include soil fertility, structure and tilth, which is how well the soil breaks apart.

The field day begins at 9:30 a.m. (EST) with registration and a safety training session that is required to enter the mine activity area.

The registration form is available online at http://www.ces.purdue.edu/clay/. Registration is $10 and is requested by June 21. Lunch is included in the registration fee. Knox County landowners and farmers can attend free of charge by simply writing "comp" on the registration form in the total amount blank, compliments of Black Beauty Coal Co.

The morning session will be devoted to touring the mine to see the process and view demonstrations. Equipment demonstrations featured during the field day include deep ripping, mulching, crimping and land leveling.

Following lunch, a panel discussion with farmers, vendors and agency staff will take place. Three afternoon educational sessions will cover research updates, stream permitting, and restoration and equipment discussions.

For questions related to registration, contact Evans at (812) 829-5020, mevans@purdue.edu. For questions specific to workshop topics, contact Bob Jones at the Indiana Department of Natural Resources' Division of Reclamation at (812) 665-2207.

The field day is located south of the intersection between State Road 159 and State Road 67. Main Street turns into County Road 850 E. and then becomes Bicknell Road. This combination of streets and roads is also known as SLAB Road. There will be signs directing traffic to parking and the field day tent.

Writer: Julie Douglas, (765) 496-1050, douglajk@purdue.edu

Source: Mark Evans, (812) 829-5020, mevans@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722;
Beth Forbes, forbes@purdue.edu
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