Cover crops, with their ability to reduce erosion and promote soil health often come alongside increasing incentive programs. Farmers adopting cover crops through Farmers for Soil Health can look forward to enhanced technical assistance through a new grant.
The recent $13.6 million grants from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation mark a significant step forward for farmers who plan to enroll in the program later this year. The grants, a key component of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s $95 million Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities, will offer personal, on-the-ground technical support to farmers in 19 states.
Farmers for Soil Health is a collaboration between the National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Board, and United Soybean Board with the goal to advance conservation practices to improve soil health across the U.S., including doubling cover crop acres in the U.S. to 30 million acres by 2030.
“U.S. farmers are dedicated to implementing sustainable practices that will not only feed and fuel a growing population but also protect our environment,” said Jack Cornell, director of sustainable supply for the United Soybean Board. “Adopting cover crops is one way farmers can continue to pursue best management practices. These grants provide technical assistance from crop advisors familiar with each state’s agronomic and production environment. The advisors will help farmers select cover crops that offer the most soil health benefits, minimize issues during planting and add value to their overall production efforts.”
Regionally based technical assistance is important as farmers work toward economic and long-term success. The grants ensure that the technical assistance providers are trusted partners that have established relationships with farmers.
“We are excited to offer this opportunity to our state partners and affiliated organizations,” said Nathan Fields, National Corn Growers Association vice president of production and sustainability. “We recognize that the success of Farmers for Soil Health will be determined by these partners who work tirelessly on the front lines and have already earned the trust and support of their local farming communities. It’s a privilege to provide them with the resources they need to carry out this important work.”
Grantees will also help farmers enroll in a digital platform facilitating the marketing of crops to end users interested in sustainably produced corn and soybeans.