Friday we celebrate Earth Day, a day where we celebrate our land. We should also be celebrating everything our Hoosier farmers do to protect it.
We often hear about how Indiana is a leader when it comes to adopting soil health practices, and it’s true. While the national adoption rate of cover crops and reduced/no-tillage is around 10%, Indiana farmers have adopted those practices at the highest rate in the Midwest.
“I think it often gets lost on folks, in the modern era anyway, how recent and rapid that level of adoption of that practice on farms has been to where you look back just roughly 10 years ago, 2011, our best information we had, we planted around 200,000 acres of cover crops in the state of Indiana,” says Ben Wicker is the Executive Director of the Indiana Agriculture Nutrient Alliance. “Our most recent data from 2021 shows that number surpassing over 1 million acres almost, 1.5 million acres.”
Wicker says Indiana farmers should be proud and take credit for the conservation practices they’ve employed over the years and continue to look for new opportunities to be even more environmentally sustainable. He adds that’s especially important now as consumers are asking more questions about where their food comes from and what sustainability looks like on the farm.
“That could mean lots of things to different people, but I think that’s where ag has really started taking a leadership role to help define what sustainable might mean on the farm and how the products that we’re producing are increasingly becoming more sustainable as we move forward.”
For more on how Hoosier farmers contribute to Indiana’s environmental sustainability this Earth Day, check out this story where you can find some stats compiled by Indiana Farm Bureau.