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Indiana leads the way in cover crop fields and no-till conservation practices

INDIANAPOLIS — An annual survey that was published recently shows Indiana continues to lead the nation in the acres of cover crops planted.

The information collected during the fall transect also shows farmers are implementing no-till and strip-tillage practices.

Shannon Zezula, the state resource conservationist for Indiana for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, said the data collected during the transect shows similar trends over the last three to four years, that Hoosiers are planting outstanding amounts of cover crop. In 2019, Indiana farmers planted close to 950,000 acres of cover crops.

Zezula said besides farmers planting an impressive amount of cover crops, helping make Indiana one of the top cover crop producing states in the nation, Hoosier farmers also have made extraordinary efforts implementing no-till practices throughout the state.

He said the data collected has shown that even though there a lot of NRCS programs to help farmers adopt conservation practices, including cover crops, farmers are still planting close to four times the amount of cover crops that the programs help pay for.

Using demonstrations, educational field days and information and other farmers helping one another, Zezula said the benefits of planting cover crops have proven beneficial to Hoosier farmers.

Over the past year, Zezula said, NRCS conservation practices have paid close to $8 million for cover crops, but farmers spent close to $30 million on cover crops.

Zezula said the $30 million that farmers spent on cover crops helped fund the agriculture industry in Indiana by supporting seed vendors, certified crop advisers and other agriculture retailers.

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