Cover Crop information map

Cover Crop Trends, Programs, and Practices in the United States

The soil health improvements that can come with the use of cover crops are associated with a variety of potential on-field benefits for the farmer. Cover crops can enhance soil properties such as aggregate stability, beneficial microbial activity, and the amount of organic matter in the soil. The types of soil health improvements and on farm benefits are variable, complex, and context specific. Many of these benefits are also associated with public benefits, such as improved downstream water quality. Cover crops can also have costs—both monetary and non-monetary—that limit the willingness of many farmers to plant them. This report relies on survey data in which farmers self-report whether they are growing cover crops on their operation or on a given field. For any management practice, such data collection relies upon survey respondents defining the practice in the same way as the analysts interpreting the survey data.

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