USDA cover crop campaign gets a boost

A USDA campaign endorsing cover crops is getting a boost in visibility from The Howard G. Buffett Foundation, a development that could pay dividends for Oregon seed producers.

The foundation decided this past spring to raise awareness of the two-year old USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service campaign titled Unlock the Secrets in the Soil.

An article recently released in an online publication provided information on the campaign and profiled two growers who use cover crops.

Leon Moses of Greensboro, N.C., said he began using ryegrass, hairy vetch and clover as cover crops in 2006.

“I began to learn very quickly that no-till and cover crops combined to make healthy soils that rewarded me with higher yields,” Moses is quoted as saying.

Jack Erisman of Illinois said he’s been using cover crops for many years. “The bottom line?” he said. “Cover crops offer a way to find true sustainability and real costs savings.”

The NRCS campaign is aimed at improving soil health by touting the benefits of cover crops, such as annual ryegrass, red clover, alfalfa and radish, crops with seed production in Oregon.

The campaign provides growers tools and knowledge about improving soil health through the use of cover crops.

The Howard B. Buffett Foundation works to improve food security for impoverished and marginalized populations by, among other means, improving the sustainability of food production.

With the Illinois Department of Agriculture recently starting a cover crop initiative and the NRCS campaign getting a boost in visibility, it is clear that cover crop seed production offers Oregon producers a growing market opportunity.

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