A new farmer-led program – Farmers for Soil Health – aims to establish 30 million acres of cover crops by 2030. Coming together, the soy, corn and pork commodity groups are partnering with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve soil health through cover crops. NRCS Chief Terry Cosby says the effort helps fulfill consumer demand for environmentally sustainable products.
“We’ve been working with a lot of these different organizations for years, but we’ve never had an opportunity to bring them all together. And we’re talking about leaders from the United Soybean Board, the National Corn Growers Association, and the National Pork Board. It is a great way for us to work with all three of these organizations to look at how we can help with soil health.”
The commodity groups’ partnership helped secure a $1 million USDA grant to support the Farmers for Soil Health initiative.
“The key thing here is that this is farmer led, and they’re going to be working with their peers to talk about soil health, especially cover crops, and it also helps us meet our sustainability goals. We met at the Commodity Classic down in New Orleans and we sat down and we talked about how do we do this? And I tell you what, the three presidents of these boards are outstanding, great spokesmen, and so I think that all of us and working together, we’re going to be able to accomplish this goal of 30 million acres by 2030.”
Cosby says the effort will help animal feed customers meet consumer desire for sustainable meat products, reducing industrywide greenhouse gas emissions.
“The consumers, they want these ag products, and they want to know that it is ingredients that are environmentally sustainable. So, I think we’re working with these folks and looking at how they’re producing these crops and they’re doing it in a sustainable way, and also an environmentally friendly way. And cover crops is one of those ways to get there. And so, when we look at climate smart commodities, and look at all the practices that we offer, we know that cover crop is the one that is the key to soil health, so that these farms remain sustainable.”
Keep up with the latest news from the United Soybean Board at unitedsoybean.org and Wednesday mornings at 10 a.m. Eastern / 9 a.m. Central on RFD-TV.