New Cover Crop Initiative Launched

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- In Iowa only two to three percent of farmers are using cover crops in their fields.

There is some cost sharing available from the state but a new water quality initiative is hoping to increase interest.

Tuesday, the “Driving Cover Crop Adoption through Education and Technical Assistance and Showing Environmental Benefits” initiative was launched.

The project will focus on encouraging more farmers to give cover crops a try.

“We see a growing interest, significant increases, doubling nearly every year in the amount of interest and the amount of acres of cover crops and the interest in this program as well. We`re hopeful by having this project and having some cost share available we`ll see that grow even faster,” says Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey.

The project is funded by the Iowa Water Quality Initiative and several partners. It will offer $25 for every cover crop acre planted, up to 100 acres.

Cover crops protect the soil against erosion by putting down roots that help hold the soil and all its nutrients in place.

“This program will help build momentum and we`re certainly very pleased from where we`ve come from but we`re really excited about where we`re going to go in the future with adoption of these technologies,” says Secretary Northey.

The project received a $1,007,916 grant from the Iowa Water Quality Initiative and farmers and other project partners will provide $1,217,250 in funds. Partners include: Archer Daniels Midland, DuPont Pioneer, LaCrosse Seed, Practical Farmers of Iowa, Conservation Technology Information Center, and Unilever.

Farmers interested in participating can contact Archer Daniels Midland at 515-263-3266 or Practical Farmers of America at 515-232-5661.