The farmer-led, farmer-driven initiative offers cost-share programs and technical assistance to farmers in 20 states — including Ohio — who plant cover crops for three years.
Farmers in 20 states can now enroll in cost-share programs through Farmers for Soil Health. This corn, pork and soy commodity initiative, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities, establishes financial and technical assistance for corn and soybean farmers who adopt cover crops. The focus is to bring money directly back to farmers, where sustainability is happening at the farm level.
Participating farmers who plant cover crops will receive payments to help transition totaling $50 (spanning three years) per new acre of cover crops planted. These payments of $2 per acre are available for up to 600,000 acres of existing cover crops. Eligible farmers will participate in measurement, reporting, and verification to highlight progress toward the goal of expanding adoption of cover crops.
“NCGA is excited to offer this opportunity in partnership with our state partners and affiliated organizations,” said Tom Haag, NCGA president. “This is just one more way for growers to continue their soil health and conservation journeys, and now with the opportunity to tap into technical and financial support as they implement new practices.”
Farmers can enroll at farmersforsoilhealth.com. Farmers in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin are eligible for enrollment.
A hallmark of the program is the simplicity of enrollment and monitoring. Farmers will be able to enroll quickly and easily through the online enrollment platform, and all the monitoring/verification is done remotely via satellites.
“As farmers continue to experience and adjust to extreme weather swings, they can, through the Farmers for Soil Health initiative, adopt conservation measures like cover crops to increase crop resiliency,” said Ben West, Farmers for Soil Health executive director. “Through regional technical assistance led by the state corn, pork, and soy commodity organizations, U.S. farmers will strengthen their best management practices as they feed and fuel an expanding population while protecting the environment.”
Farmers for Soil Health enables state commodity groups and other partners to assist farmers in implementing and maintaining soil health practices like cover crops through:
- Outreach, education and communication
- Financial assistance and cost-share opportunities
- Technical assistance
- Research to identify and address barriers to implementing soil health practices
Farmers for Soil Health will track progress through the following measures:
- Traceable metrics through a GIS mapping system and farmer audits
- Cover crop acres based on NASS Census of Agriculture data
- Soil loss based on National Resources Inventory data
- Carbon/greenhouse gas emissions, soil loss and water quality, which will be modeled by the Soil Health Institute.
Farmers for Soil Health is a collaboration between the National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Board and United Soybean Board. Its goal is 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. The primary purpose is to deliver examples-based, science-focused initiatives recognizing farmers nationwide. For more information on Farmers for Soil Health, visit farmersforsoilhealth.com.
The Ohio contact for the program is Jessica D’Ambrosio with The Nature Conservancy at firstname.lastname@example.org.