Oklahoma Agriculture Producers Invited to Participate in Healthy Soils ProjectThu, 03 Dec 2015 11:44:05 CST
The Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts (OACD) is now accepting applications from Oklahoma agriculture producers to participate in a soil health project. The Oklahoma Healthy Soils Project is a voluntary effort to conserve the natural resources of Oklahoma by encouraging agriculture producers to implement proven conservation practices. The project will focus on incorporating cover crops on croplands in four regions of the state in 2016 by establishing demonstration farms of at least 80 acres in size on privately-held lands through a voluntary process. The goal of the Healthy Soils Project is to ascertain the feasibility of incorporating cover crops into no-till systems in Oklahoma.
"Many producers are skeptical about incorporating cover crops due to moisture loss," Jordan Shearer, OACD Project Director said. "Although we know cover crops use moisture, much of the moisture that producers believe they are saving through a fallow system is lost to evaporation."
Through the Oklahoma Healthy Soils Project, 10 producers will be selected to plant cover crops on 80 acres at no cost to the producer. The producers selected to participate in the pilot project will receive up to $115/per acre for seed cost, fair rental rate compensation, technical assistance and testing/monitoring equipment. After implementation, cash crop yields from the cover crop acres will be compared to yields from fallow systems to evaluate economic impact as well as environmental benefits. Participating producers will also be paired with a conservation mentor in their area to provide qualitative support for the project duration.
Eligible producers must qualify for EQIP (Environmental Quality Incentives Program) as defined by the 2014 U.S. Farm Bill and submit a full Healthy Soils Project application to OACD by Friday January 15, 2016.
The OACD Healthy Soils Project is funded USDA-NRCS's Regional Conservation Partnership Program and underwritten in part by ITC Great Plains and the Williams Companies.
To learn more about the areas for the first phase of the demonstration project and to download an application, please visit okconservation.org/healthy-soils or contact your local conservation district.
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