One Million Acres of Living Cover Crops Reported in Indiana
Cover crops and no-till made significant gains on Hoosier farms last fall. Pictured here are cover crops growing into corn residue in Hendricks County.
The results are in from the first-ever statewide fall tillage transect completed late last year as part of a collaborative effort between ISDA, NRCS, Indiana's 92 SWCDs and other members of the Indiana Conservation Partnership (ICP). The report shows significant increases in the adoption of conservation practices on farm fields by Hoosier farmers.
The fall transect estimated one million acres of living plant cover such as cover crops and winter cereal grains were planted on Indiana farms last year. The report also shows most Indiana farmers left their tillage equipment in the shed this past fall to protect their fields with harvested crop residues. Results for residues and soil undisturbed on harvested acres during the winter months include:
77% of corn acres
79% of small grain acres
82% of soybean acres
Ted McKinney, Director of ISDA said, "Transects give conservation partners the opportunity to observe the current land use conditions and discuss the resource needs and accomplishments related to the soil and water resources in each county. Such efforts are particularly rewarding when the results show that Indiana is among the leaders in soil conservation and water quality."
USDA FSA Announces Conservation Incentives for Working Grass, Range and Pasture Lands
Beginning September 1, farmers and ranchers can apply for financial assistance to help conserve working grasslands, rangeland and pastureland while maintaining the areas as livestock grazing lands. The initiative is part of the voluntary Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
"A record 400 million acres and 600,000 producers and landowners are currently enrolled in USDA's conservation programs. The Conservation Reserve Program has been one of the most successful conservation programs in the history of the country, and we are pleased to begin these grasslands incentives as we celebrate the program's 30th year," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The CRP-Grasslands initiative will provide participants who establish long-term, resource-conserving covers with annual rental payments up to 75 percent of the grazing value of the land. Cost-share assistance also is available for up to 50 percent of the covers and other practices, such as cross fencing to support rotational grazing or improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife. Participants may still conduct common grazing practices, produce hay, mow, or harvest for seed production, conduct fire rehabilitation, and construct firebreaks and fences.
To learn more about participating in CRP-Grasslands, visit www.fsa.usda.gov/crp or consult with the local Farm Service Agency county office.
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