On July 17, the Upper White Cover Crop Program was recognized by the White River Alliance as recipient of the 2020 Exceptional Commitment to Watershed Protection Award. The program, offered by the Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA), the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC), Beck’s Hybrids and Cargill, gives Indiana corn and soybean farmers in the Upper White River Watershed an opportunity to participate in a fully-funded, cover crop trial program this fall. ICMC, ISA and its partners are investing to help farmers in the Upper White River Watershed to learn how to reap the benefits of cover crops while improving soil health and water quality.
“What many people don’t understand about farming is that it always changes,” said Hancock County, Ind. farmer Ronnie Mohr. “I’ve been doing this for a long time, and we are always looking for better ways to grow my crops. Sometimes those answers don’t provide an immediate return. Sometimes those answers are to make sure we have healthy farmland and top soil for years to come. In a way, that’s what the Upper White Cover Crop Program provides.”
The White River Alliance is comprised of local governments, industry, utilities, universities, agriculture and citizens of a 16-county region of central Indiana, and it exists to improve and protect water quality in the watershed. The Exceptional Commitment to Watershed Protection Award honors an individual or organization that has demonstrated a strong commitment to water resources and watershed protection.
ISA and ICMC are honored to work with strong partners such as Beck’s Hybrids and Cargill to encourage Hoosier farmers to protect their farmland for future generations.
“The Upper White Cover Crop Program offers farmers a long-term way to evaluate cover crops and soil health on their farm,” said Ryan Moore, Beck’s Small Seeds Product Manager. “Beck’s is proud to be part of a program that focuses on nutrient reduction strategies while helping farmers understand the benefits cover crops offer. We look forward to continuing this type of program in the years to come.”
The program helps offset the cost of planting cover crops and possible yield loss, but it also helps growers to see the future benefits.
“Cargill’s participation in the Upper White Cover Crop Program is driven by our strategy of connecting farmers to the resources they need to keep improving their operations,” said Sharon Spies, Director of Sustainability with the Cargill Agricultural Supply Chain (CASCNA). “We know that adopting new practices such as cover crops is a major investment and creates yield risk. That is why we are excited to be part of a program where cover crop seeds and application are free to the farmer and access to agronomic advice is easy.”
Cargill’s origination team in Tipton, Ind., which consists Kelly Pall, Bailee Cook and Dana Hubbell, concurred. “Farmers in our area were happy to learn about this program, and they responded with great enthusiasm to our call for applications,” Pall explained. “We hope that this is just the first of many years of partnership with them on their journey to reduce nutrient runoff and optimize their use of nitrogen.”
The deadline to enroll in the program is July 31.Those with questions about this opportunity should contact ISA/ICMC Program Manager Ariel Kittle by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317-220-4115. For additional details, visit www.keepitmidwest.com.