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The Indiana Soybean Alliance (ISA), in partnership with the Indiana Corn Marketing Council (ICMC), the Indiana Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and Truterra, LLC, the sustainability business of Land O’Lakes, Inc., one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives, today announced the opening of the enrollment period through Aug. 6 for the INfield Advantage program cover crop trials. Participating in the INfield Advantage program provides Indiana farmers with resources and tools to try cover crops on their farms and evaluate the results before determining whether to adopt the practice more broadly across their operations. With new carbon market opportunities now emerging, the INfield Advantage program also gives farmers the chance to ready their farms for participation in these new markets at little to no risk.
Farmers enrolled in the program will have access to the Truterra™ Insights Engine sustainability tool to benchmark current practices, and track progress and improvement over time of the cover crop split-field trial. To be eligible for the cover crop trial, farmers must be new to planting cover crops. In this split field trial, 20 acres of cover crop seed will be provided, and at least a 40-acre field is recommended. Farmers may also be eligible to receive a $200 sign-up incentive upon enrollment. More information about eligibility requirements and sign-up can be found online at www.infieldadvantage.org
“The INfield Advantage program offers an exciting opportunity for farmers in Indiana to manage the economics of adopting new conservation practices on their farm that can improve their environmental footprint and their bottom line,” said ISA Board Chair Matthew Chapman, a farmer from Springport, Ind. “Making practice changes can be risky and potentially expensive for farmers, so we want to equip them with the tools and resources to try out these practices first and have the data to know with confidence that implementing a practice change makes sense for their operation.”
Funding for the program is provided by a grant through the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and ISA and ICMC checkoff dollars, which will cover all costs of farmer participation, including soil testing. The INfield Advantage program has also partnered with two Indiana ag retailers, Ceres Solutions and Premier Ag, who are part of the Truterra network and use the Truterra™ Insights Engine to enable additional agronomic and technical assistance to participating farmers.
“Partnerships are key for the INfield Advantage program and ISDA is proud to work with organizations focused on assisting farmers as well as increasing soil health,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. “This program has come a long way in recent years and we are excited about the new opportunities available for farmers and landowners who are interested in increasing conservation on their farm.”
The INfield Advantage program offers tillage and nitrogen use efficiency trials throughout the year in addition to cover crops, all designed to help Indiana farmers test drive practice changes for three of the largest indicators of a farm operations’ greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Getting set up and entering farm data in the Truterra™ Insights Engine will also help farmers better position themselves to access future revenue opportunities through emerging ecosystem markets such as carbon. Truterra recently launched TruCarbon™, a transformational new carbon program that will help farmers generate and sell carbon credits to private sector buyers. Participating in future carbon offers requires conservation practices such as cover crops that sequester carbon and collecting specific data on these practices, so participating in the INfield Advantage program is a great way for farmers to be ready to participate in these new markets as they become available.
“We’re thrilled to be a partner in this opportunity for Indiana farmers that will help them consider new on-farm conservation practices that could benefit the environment and boost their bottom line,” said Mariah Murphy, Senior Manager, Truterra, LLC Field Team. “Taking the long view, we know that utilizing the Truterra™ Insights Engine in these collaborative programs will help farmers be ready for future markets – including carbon programs such as TruCarbon – while addressing the risks inherent in any practice change.”
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It's never too early to discuss a project, or to consider the sustainability posibilities for your organization.