New Study Shows Diversified Crop Rotation System Could Be Adopted Widely Across Corn Belt And Increase Corn-Soy Yields While Slashing Soil Erosion and Water Pollution
New Study Shows Diversified Crop Rotation System Could Be Adopted Widely Across Corn Belt And Increase Corn-Soy Yields While Slashing Soil Erosion and Water Pollution.
WASHINGTON (May 9, 2017)—A new study released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) found that modified three- and four-crop farming systems could be scaled up and adopted widely in Corn Belt states, generating benefits to farmers and taxpayers worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The analysis, “Rotating Crops, Turning Profits: How Diversified Farming Systems Can Help Farmers While Protecting Soil and Preventing Pollution,” builds on a long-term study at Iowa State University, known as the Marsden Farm study, which demonstrated that adding combinations of alfalfa, cover crops, and small grains such as oats to a typical corn-soy rotation can increase farmers’ yields and maintain profits while reducing herbicide and fertilizer use.
Over time, and with the expansion of markets for oats or other small grains in the rotation, the system could be scaled up to nearly 40 percent of Iowa’s current farmland without driving farmers back to predominantly corn-soy.
“In 2015 alone, we spent $1.5 million running our nitrate-removal system for a record 177 days in order to provide our customers with safe drinking water; these costs are directly passed on to our ratepayers.
We need a different set of farm policies that help farmers and also protect our natural resources.” The UCS report says federal farm policies can help farmers reap the benefits of diversified cropping system by funding additional research, education and technical assistance.
“Our farmers want to implement diverse crop rotations, but the way that financial markets and incentives work, they can’t profitably grow oats or other crops besides corn or soy,” said Sarah Carlson, director of the Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Midwest Cover Crop Project, an initiative that helps farmers adopt cover crops and works with food companies to change the market for small grain crops.
Stand up for science and stop the new administration from putting politics before science at the expense of our health and the environment.
To: President Donald Trump Subject: Stand Up for Science As you forge a new path forward for America, it is vitally important that science and a respect for the facts guide your decision making.
We, the undersigned, believe that: rigorous, independent science should inform government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices; people who are appointed to lead critical agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency should have demonstrated support for the agencies’ mission; America’s Founding Fathers understood the importance of science to building a strong nation and sustaining the prosperity, health, and security of its citizens; America should continue to be a global leader in science and innovation; we can strengthen American democracy by advancing the essential role of science, evidence-based decision making, and constructive debate as a means to improve the lives of all people; and all scientists should be free to conduct and speak out about their research without fear of retribution or censorship.