Friday, January 21, 2022

Play

Despite a failed attempt in the U.S. Senate, more than 200 business owners call for federal reforms to strengthen election laws, and the U.S. Supreme Court deals another blow to abortion providers.

Play

President Biden gets cheers and jeers as he marks his first year in the White House, the Jan. 6 committee wants to hear from Ivanka Trump, and the Supreme Court rejects another challenge to the Texas abortion law.

Play

Expanded broadband akin to electrification in rural America 80 years ago; small Wyoming grocery store survives monopolization; revitalized Kansas town gets national recognition; and Montana's Native communities look for voter suppression work-arounds.

Warm Fall Weather Key to Increasing Cover Crops on IA Farms

Play

Wednesday, October 6, 2021   

SIOUX CITY, Iowa - Iowa's fall harvest is under way, with some farmers reporting better yields than expected. But others are still worried about drought-related losses, and supporters of cover crops say the current conditions could be seen as an opportunity, both for a producer's land and the climate.

State agriculture officials expect mixed results from this year's harvest, with a dry summer and a recent batch of rain. Either way, said Ruth McCabe, a Heartland Cooperative conservation agronomist, an extended warm stretch in October means farmers are moving fast in the fields. She said they should have plenty of time to plant cover crops, which can help build soil health while reducing harmful runoff.

"That's always been the real hurdle in the past," she said, "is that, especially the further north you go, you get your crops harvested - and by the time you've got your crops harvested, it's cold and wet, and maybe snowy."

This year, McCabe said, farmers have more time to consider practices to improve their land's health, and the flexibility allows them to be more selective about which cover crops work best for their operation. Iowa farmers planted more than 2 million acres of cover crops in 2019, accounting for only 8% of the state's cropland.

Supporters of cover-cropping say the figures underscore the need to get more farmers to take advantage of state and federal cost-share programs. With upfront investments still a barrier, said Kayla Bergman, a Center for Rural Affairs policy associate, the aid can help farms of all sizes make climate-friendly choices without losing their shirts.

"No matter how small or how large your farming operation is," she said, "cover crops, for example - along with other conservation practices - are certainly viable for any operation size."

As land gets healthier, she said, farmers could see more consistent yields, improving their bottom line. And with increased awareness about the connection between farm runoff and water pollution in Iowa, the group said cover crops are an important tool to prevent excess phosphorus and nitrates from reaching rivers and streams.

Disclosure: Center for Rural Affairs contributes to our fund for reporting on Budget Policy & Priorities, Environment, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, Rural/Farming. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2018 to fill the seat previously held by Republican Jeff Flake. (Flickr)

Social Issues

A wave of new Arizona voters in the 2020 election changed the normally conservative state to one where progressive candidates and ideas have a fightin…


Environment

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to use federal funds for a project to help keep invasive carp out of the Great Lakes. It is proposing using …

Social Issues

Healthcare workers at an Oregon hospital have achieved what they say is a "win" after several strikes in recent months. Nearly 300 workers and …


Pennsylvania has over 300 million square feet of big-box building rooftops, which new research suggests could provide almost half the electricity that these buildings consume if they were outfitted with solar panels. (Adobe Stock)

Environment

As Pennsylvania continues to grow its solar-energy capacity, a new report found the roofs of big-box stores present a big opportunity to increase …

Social Issues

If Iowa wants to create healthier outcomes for its residents, advocates say there are steps policymakers can take right now to make it happen…

Over the course of the pandemic, North Dakota has received more than $350 million in federal aid to help struggling renters, but says it has sent back roughly 40% of that money unspent. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

North Dakota has returned a significant portion of the rental assistance provided by the federal government in the pandemic, but groups working …

Social Issues

Nearly 1,200 Hoosiers are about to have some of their student-loan debt forgiven, as part of a multistate settlement with the student-loan-servicing …

Social Issues

After a defeat on Wednesday, Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they'll keep trying to pass voting-rights legislation, and one Wisconsin group wants …

 

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