A cover crop is a type of plant (i.e. grasses, legumes) that is used in conservation and crop production practices that reduces nutrient leaching, soil loss, and runoff, while also improving soil health. The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy shows that cover cropping can be one of the most effective in-field strategies for reducing both nitrate-nitrogen and total phosphorus lost from corn-soybean fields.
Crop insurance is an integral part of the farm safety net that provides protection for farmers when adverse weather impacts their crop yields. Because cover crops can improve the resiliency of Illinois farm operations by improving the soil’s ability to absorb and hold water for crops, and because more resilient soil results in less yield variation from year to year, a benefit to more farmers implementing cover cropping could be fewer insurance claims over time.
The world of agriculture is facing enormous challenges ahead, and soil health management is the key to the long-term production and sustainability of the nation’s working lands. For America's farmers and ranchers, the soil beneath their feet is the foundation of their success – it's a life-giving force that grows the food to sustain our nation.
In the Midwest, American Farmland Trust works with farmers and conservation partners to protect and restore the health and productivity of this vital natural resource. We encourage farmers to adopt practices that increase the soil's organic matter, making it more productive and resilient.
Please sign this petition and let the Illinois Department of Agriculture know that you support a crop insurance reward program for cover crops in the state of Illinois.
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