A new $10 million dollar grant project aims to help farmers and improve agriculture practices during severe weather and a changing climate.
Rob Myers, with the MU Center for Regenerative Agriculture, is leading the project. He told Missourinet that it is designed to double cover crop acreage in the U.S. to 40 million acres by the year 2030.
“This is one of a handful of projects awarded across the country by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institutes of Food and Agriculture,” he explained. “In this case, our project is to implement research, education, and extension programs that can lead to doubling cover crop acreage in the United States along with other efforts that are out there.”
Cover crops are plants used to protect and improve soil when other crops are not being grown. They help to reduce soil erosion, improve soil health, smother weeds, control pests and diseases, and improve biodiversity.
“So, this project will put Missouri at the forefront of efforts to develop improved cover crops and let me explain the cover crops or plants used to protect and improve the soil,” he said. “So, things like rye, clover, vetches, even radishes. So, these are things that are planted typically in the fall after our corn and soybeans are harvested.”
Myers said, for this reason, more farmers are interested in using cover crops.
“They’re keeping the soil from washing away. They’re keeping fertilizers that have been applied to the field in place instead of running off into streams and rivers,” Myers said. “They’re helping provide living roots that feed the organisms in the soil. There can be more than a billion organisms in a single tablespoon of soil. It’s pretty remarkable the role that these cover crops play.”
Myers said this project will put Missouri at the forefront of efforts to develop improved cover crops.
Click here for more information on this project.
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