Farmer Conservation Grows in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS -

A recent survey says Indiana farmers planted more than 1 million acres of cover crops in 2018, up 32,000 acres over the previous year. The Indiana Department of Agriculture says that more farmers are using cover crops because they encourage productive soils that suppress weeds, improve water infiltration, cycle nutrients and increase soil organic matter.

Cover crops planted last year prevented 1.3 million tons of sediment from flooding Indiana’s waterways, along with 3.2 million pounds of nitrogen and 1.6 million pounds of phosphorus, according to the data. 

This information follows the recently released 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture, which indicated that farm conservation is growing on a nationwide scale.

The census showed that Indiana farmers also transitioned nearly 1 million acres from conventional tillage to conservation tillage, an increase of 33 percent from the 2012 census. 

“If you look at where we were a decade ago, major progress has been made,” said Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler. “Farmers are investing more in conservation, which is particularly significant considering where the farm economy has been for the past five years.”

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