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Cover Crop Farming Gets National Exposure

USA Today article explains no till and cover crop farming and ties the process to ancient practices and modern climate crisis.

By Mike Cox

The Yahoo News website recently featured an article originally published in the USA Today newspaper titled Ancient farming practice makes a comeback as climate change puts pressure on crops.

soybeans planted into cereal rye cover crop
Soybeans planted into cereal rye cover crop.

Elizabeth Weise, a San Francisco based writer for USA Today, wrote the article. According to her writing history, Weise is primarily involved in Climate Change news stories. The article details something the Growing Resilience website, and many of our web visitors, are familiar with. The full article is available at the following link.

Most of the specifics involving these “Ancient Practices” were based on original farming techniques and have never completely disappeared. Improvements in quality and price of fertilizer in the 1950’s reduced cover crop farming significantly. Although this technique, and other long-time practices have remained in the background, the amount of cover crop acreage between 2005 and 2015 increased dramatically as producers began noticing how cover crops improved soil health, water retention, and weed control.

Cover cropping is one of the conservation practices considered “climate smart”, so be on the lookout for how this practice may be promoted by the USDA-NRCS in the Climate Smart Enhancements to the EQIP and CSP programs in 2023. In addition, the USDA instituted a climate-smart farming and ranching commodity partnership initiative in 2022, to create more opportunity to produce and market climate-smart commodities. USDA allocated $3.1 billion toward 141 cooperative projects that represent all commodities and all sizes of farms and ranches across the country.

Cover crops offer additional diversity and an opportunity to use solar energy that captures carbon from the atmosphere; over time, much of this material is converted to soil organic matter either through decomposition of plant residues or root exudates. These exudates, simple sugars, organic and amino acids, are easy for a soil microbe to digest. Along with decomposing plant materials, the root exudates are the energy that drives the soil food web. Without carbon in the system, there would be no energy and no life.

The full article is available at the following link.


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