Ducks Unlimited (DU) has partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF),
Archer-Daniels-Midland Company (ADM), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and
Farmers Business Network (FBN) to incentivize producers in both Indiana and Michigan to implement
75,000 acres of cover crops to improve water quality and wildlife habitats. Over the next 4 years,
DU will work with their partners and private landowners to enroll acres into cover crop contracts
with ADM. In return, the landowners will receive a $10/acre incentive payment, each year, for 4 years
($40 per acre total).
Cover crops are a crucial conservation practice that benefits wildlife habitat and water quality for
communities. The conversion of native habitats to intensively farmed row crops can result in decreased
soil health, soil erosion, and nutrient run-off. Nutrient run-off from agriculture fields has
been known to contribute to harmful algal blooms in the Great Lakes, and even the oxygen depleted
gulf hypoxia regions in the Gulf of Mexico.
Producers are now seeing new opportunities to plant cover crops to increase soil health, decrease
erosion, and reduce nutrients and runoff. According to USDA NRCS, cover crops are only implemented
on 6% of the cultivated land in the north-central United States. DU’s goal is to help farmers apply
cover crop practices to improve soil health, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases, and improve
water resources, while providing economic benefit to participating producers, while maintaining
benefits to wildlife.
Under this project, cover crop implementation will occur across all of Indiana and Michigan but will
be further targeted in the intensively agriculture dominated watersheds of Saginaw Bay and the St.
Joseph River, Michigan; and the Western Lake Erie Basin of Indiana and Michigan.
For further inquiries, please contact:
COVER CROP PARTNERSHIP
Regional Biologist, Ducks Unlimited