This Week’s Harvest
Beauty Heart Radish
Purple Top Turnips
When I walk around the farm these days, the scene that greets me is field upon field covered in a blanket of cover crop. I love seeing the all green against the gray winter sky and feel proud that our fields have been put to rest for the winter in a way that will build the soil, hold moisture, prevent erosion, and increase organic matter. I’ve mentioned covering cropping several times before as it one of the main farming practices we implement in our organic system, but what I have new to report is that more and more farms are covering off season fields in cover crop!
According to the NCR-SARE (here. Coming off the heels of yet another impactful weather year (20 million acres of crop land did not get planted due to excessive rain) it is good news that everyone, including bigger players like the American Farm Bureau Federation, seem to be on the same page about climate change and solutions.Program, cover crop acreage increased 49.7% between 2012 and 2017. While the total crop land in cover crop is still only at 4%, state initiatives are proving to be effective means to encourage farmers to cover crop. Take Maryland, for example, where the crop land now in cover crop is a whopping 43%! This is because of a decades long effort to improve the water quality of the Chesapeake Bay and watershed which ultimately led to “a mandate to manage nutrient runoff on farms with money to compensate farmers for adopting certain practices such as growing cover crops — a practice that dramatically cuts down on nutrient runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.” More about the national movement towards adopting “climate-smart” agriculture practices can be found in an article published this week in Politico and linked
If this topic is of interest to you, climate change happens to be the theme of OEFFA’s Annual Sustainable Farming Conference coming up here in Dayton in February! Special early bird pricing for the event ends Dec. 12 by the way!