Saturday, July 31, 2021


Educators' unions call for efforts to ensure in-person learning keeps students, teachers, families, and staff safe; and an update on hate crimes by state.


Congress passes Capitol security funding; House Freedom Caucus members want Cheney, Kinzinger out of GOP conference; Schumer closes a deal to advance $3.5 trillion reconciliation package; and a new report says investor-owned utilities try to block rooftop solar.

Ag Group: WI Needs Incentive Program for Cover Crops


Thursday, April 22, 2021   

MADISON, Wis. -- As Wisconsin farmers fan out for the spring planting season, conservation-minded groups say the state should do more to convince producers to plant cover crops. They are hoping a proposed incentive program clears the Legislature.

Cover crops, a well-known conservation strategy, are known to improve soil health while reducing harmful runoff.

Margaret Krome, policy program director for the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, said despite the awareness, they need more farmers to sign on to have a sizable impact. The program would discount producers' crop insurance premiums if they took on this practice.

She pointed to polling data as a need to approve the program.

"Approximately two-thirds, either those who had already planted cover crops in the past or those who had not, said this kind of program would incentivize them to plant cover crops, or plant more."

Similar programs in Iowa and Illinois have seen strong enrollment numbers.

Supporters in Wisconsin asked the Legislature to approve a $500,000 in annual funding. The plan had bipartisan support and saw movement last year before the pandemic brought the session to a halt. However, it had less funding than what advocates want.

Bob Roden, a farmer in West Bend, has been experimenting with cover crops in recent years. He said other producers are watching to see if it's worth it, and he feels any extra reason to dive in or keep going is worthwhile.

"Any incentive, we're interested in doing it to promote better soil health," Roden confirmed. "It's an incentive just like our different programs out there to encourage us to start these cover-crop programs."

While there are existing incentive programs through agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Roden noted there are still costs to consider when adopting these practices.

Krome argued the annual investment for the state is worth it because convincing more farmers to improve their soil health could help with flood prevention.

"If you invest the money in the kind of farming practices that hold water, rather than allow water to come tearing across the landscape and going down the hill and tearing out roads and bridges, you can reduce the cost the government pays in repairing that infrastructure," Krome contended.

While the Institute's polling data suggests strong demand, the latest Census of Agriculture shows only 6% of Wisconsin's acreage was planted with cover crops.

Disclosure: Michael Fields Agricultural Institute contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Rural/Farming, and Sustainable Agriculture. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
In addition to roof repairs and other home improvements to lower utility bills, a Michigan League for Public Policy report recommends expanding utility-shutoff protections to include households with young children. (Adobe Stock)


LANSING, Mich. - High utility costs are a major burden for Michigan's low-income residents, and a new study says they have an impact on their health…


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A new report shows an effort by investor-owned utilities in the Sunshine State to block the growth of rooftop solar. The …

Health and Wellness

By Troy Pierson / Broadcast version by Mary Schuermann reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration. As marijuana becomes more …

Across the United States, 46 states have laws allowing for harsher punishment for crimes based on bias. (Ludk/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

SALT LAKE CITY - With rising numbers of people targeted in hate crimes and related violence, a new report analyzes the hate-crime laws in each state…

Social Issues

BOSTON - Educators' unions are calling on the state to support their efforts to ensure in-person learning in the fall keeps students, teachers…

According to AARP Connecticut, 47% of family caregivers have had at least one financial setback, such as having less money for retirement or savings, or cutting back on their own healthcare spending. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

HARTFORD, Conn. - In Connecticut, more than 460,000 people care for close friends or family members who can't manage on their own - and their …

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Millions of Americans soon could find eviction notices on their front doors, but New Mexico renters will not be among them - as …

Health and Wellness

CONCORD, N.H. - New Hampshire advocates for affordable healthcare access want Congress to lower prescription costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021