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The Perceived Benefits, Challenges, and Environmental Effects of Cover Crop Implementation in South Carolina

Cover crops are becoming more accepted as a viable best management practice because of their ability to provide important environmental and soil health benefits. Because of these benefits, many land managers are strongly encouraging the use of cover crops. Additionally, there is limited information on farmers′ perceptions of the benefits and challenges of implementing cover crops.

Many farmers state that they do not have enough money or time to implement cover crops. In an attempt to gather more data about the adoption rate and perceptions of cover crops in South Carolina, a survey was sent to 3000-row crop farmers across the state. Farmers were asked whether they implement cover crops and their perceptions of the benefits and challenges associated with implementation. Furthermore, questions were asked regarding the impact of row cropping on their environment to gauge farmer′s education level on environmental impacts. Responses showed many people are implementing cover crops; however, there are still differences in perceptions about benefits and challenges between those who are adopting cover crops and those who are not. This research assesses these differences and aims to provide a baseline for focusing cover crop programs to tackle these certain challenges and promote the benefits.

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