By Tim Kowols
The snow may be covering it up now, but a contest among Peninsula Pride farmers is looking to do more to address soil and water quality in the region. Through a cost share opportunity for its members earlier in the fall, Peninsula Pride Farms challenged farmers to plant crops for the winter after it was finished harvesting for the year. Peninsula Pride Farms president Don Niles says 4,000 additional acres were planted in addition to other farms’ cover crop strategies as a part of the challenge and believes it will help farmers do their jobs better.
Cover crops usually include grasses, legumes, and small grains that are planted during off-season production that can help prevent soil erosion and reduce phosphorus loss. According to Peninsula Pride Farms conservation resource manager Dennis Frame, fields with cover crops experienced 55 percent less water runoff and 50 percent less soil loss than land that was uncovered.