The Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District (LENRD) is partnering with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to encourage landowners to participate in the Cover Crop Incentive Program for land that is currently in a continuous no-till cropping system.

“Cover crops enhance rainfall infiltration, drastically reduce soil erosion, and help prevent the development of ephemeral gully erosion in cropland,” said Dan Gillespie, NRCS no-till specialist. “Cover crops may be planted into corn, soybean or small grain fields. Highly Erodible Land (HEL) fields where corn has been cut for silage are not eligible.”

Each participant is eligible to enroll up to 80 acres with a $200 contract minimum. Participants in this practice should apply at their local NRCS office each year, for up to three consecutive years. Applicants may pick from three cover crop seeding options and three cover crop seed mixture options.

“Participants may change seed mix alternatives and options during the three-year period, but must have approval from the LENRD prior to planting the cover crop,” said Curt Becker, LENRD projects manager. “The producer is responsible for obtaining their own seed according to NRCS specifications and arranging for seeding either by pilot or ground application. Producers also must kill the cover crop per NRCS Cover Crop Termination Guidelines, without inversion tillage.”

Anyone interested in applying for the Cover Crop Program should contact their local NRCS office for more details.

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