The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research launched a national effort to expand use of cover crops. Called the Healthy Soils, Thriving Farms initiative, the group includes the USDA as well. It is a collaborative, multi-partner research effort to improve soil health in the United States. It continues the effort to encourage adoption of cover crops as well as develop new cover crop varieties with enhanced soil health-promoting traits.
The research expands into states not commonly practicing cover cropping methods, like
- North Carolina,
- Nebraska and M
- issouri. Ideally, the research will begin with
cover crops with the greatest potential to improve soil health in a broad geographic context. Annual ryegrass, small grains, annual legumes and brassicas will be used to start.
As has been demonstrated throughout the Midwest, northeastern US and southern provinces in Canada, cover crops are valuable for these reasons:
- Improve soil health.
- Mitigate erosion.
- Increase crop yields.
- Enhance water use efficiency.
For more on the study, here’s a link.