A new report from the Soil Health Partnership details the financial impact of conservation tillage and cover crop usage among Midwest corn and soybean growers. Titled Conservation’s Impact on the Farm Bottom Line, the project was done in collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund.
Based on an analysis of farm operations, management practices and financial records, the project team identified three key takeaways. The first is conservation tillage reduces operating costs, resulting in higher net returns per acre among study participants. Meanwhile, cover crops can be part of a profitable farming system, especially as experience with the practice grows. Finally, success with conservation practices is optimized when farmers take a targeted, stepwise, tailored approach to implementation. The hope with this project, according to the National Corn Growers Association, is that analyses like this will encourage continued and expanded support for farmers, both technical and financial, as they transition to conservation practices in the future.