REYNOLDS, Ill. — A cover crops informational meeting is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 1, at the Reynolds American Legion Hall in Reynolds.

Organized by the Soil and Water Conservation Districts of Rock Island and Mercer counties, the event opens with a meal served at 5:30 p.m., followed by featured speakers at 6 p.m.

Western Illinois University professor Joel Gruver, northern Illinois farmer Cade Bushnell and Iowa grower Steve Berger will share their experiences with planting cover crops.

There is no charge to attend. For more information and to make reservations, phone (309) 764-1486, extension 3.

The American Farmland Trust recently awarded the SWCDs in Rock Island and Mercer counties two of seven Illinois grants. The purpose of the grant is to promote the use of cover crops in row-crop operations.

The American Farmland Trust has identified cover crops as an important tool for the protection of production agricultural lands.

Benefits of cover crops include reduced soil erosion, enhancement of soil biology through increased microbial activity and the development of higher organic matter levels and improved water quality by reducing runoff and scavenging unused nutrients.