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cover crops

Conservation Tools Help Producers Make Positive Impacts on Changing Climate

America’s farmers and ranchers are helping put the nation on track to a healthier and more resilient environment in the face of a changing climate. While agriculture only contributes 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, it offers a variety of opportunities to reduce emissions and cut carbon from the atmosphere. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is committed to help producers become even better conservation stewards by providing the tools they need to do the job.

Rediscovering Cover Crops and the Power of ‘Green Manure’

Farmers throughout history have taken advantage of off-season plant growth to enhance their next year’s crops. These plants, called cover crops, are beneficial in many ways, including protection against weed infestation and soil erosion, as well as feed for farm animals. Some farmers use cover crops in no-till farming systems. However, when cover crops are incorporated into the soil, they become a fertility-enhancing mulch – what some call “green manure.”

I’m Not Going to Turn Another Clod

Plunging his shovel into a wheat field covered in soybean residue, Gary Hula hefts up a mound of crumbly soil with a grin. The county is under moderate drought and it’s just above freezing outside, but the soil in his shovel is full of moisture and riddled with worm holes—sure signs of healthy soil.

Managing for Soil Health across 20,000 Acres

During National Ag Week, we pause to celebrate the many farmers, ranchers and foresters working hard to grow the food, fuel and fiber that sustain each and every one of us.

Mark Anson is one such farmer. Meet Anson, and learn how he’s used soil health practices such as no-till and cover crops to revitalize his family’s 20,000 acre corn and soybeans operation in Monroe City, Indiana.

The Dollars and Cents of Soil Health: A Farmer’s Perspective

Last year, the United States lost 2 million acres of land in active crop production. As the global population grows towards a projected 9.8 billion people by 2050, so too does demand for the food, fuel and fiber grown in America. The result? American farmers are looking for sustainable ways to produce high yields year after year.