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New U.S. policy promotes use of cover crops

January 18, 2022

Cover crops planted between growing seasons or while farm fields might otherwise lie fallow are a key component of regenerative agriculture. Cover crops can bolster soil health, reduce erosion and capture and store carbon from the atmosphere.

To give farmers in nearly a dozen U.S. states further incentive to plant cover crops, the federal government recently announced a new program of subsidies. The $38 million program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be made in partnership with the United Soybean Board, National Corn Growers Association, National Pork Board and other American farming organizations, the news service Reuters reported

In the U.S., an estimated 22 million acres (8.9 million hectares) of cover crops were planted in the U.S. in 2021. But that is only a small fraction of the nearly 900 million acres (364 million hectares) of U.S. farmland.

As Reuters also reported, more and more U.S. farmers are planting cover crops, including grasses like rye and oats, radishes and legumes. While some are converted into biofuels or fed to livestock, most are not harvested because they are more valuable breaking down in the soil. 
And in many cases, in places where carbon-offset programs are in effect, the carbon trapped in roots and other plant matter left in the soil can be measured to create carbon credits that companies can use to offset other pollution. 

Read more about regenerative agriculture and cover crops

More news from: Syngenta Group Co. Ltd.

Website: http://www.syngenta.com

Published: January 18, 2022

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