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Cover Crop & Soil Health Assistance and Information
Soil Health Restore Cost-Share Program
The Soil Health Restore (SHR) Program is a Clean Water Indiana (CWI) funded project for row crop farmers in Owen and Morgan Counties. SHR cost-shares farming practices that build soil health and ultimately enhance the productivity of cropland, while improving water quality. This project is a public/private partnership between Owen County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), Morgan County Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), and Greene Crop Consulting, Inc.
Simply put, practices that support diverse soil microbiology, build soil health and unlock its inherent fertility. This translates to refraining from activities that damage microbes and adopting those that encourage them. In a conventional corn/soybean cropping system tillage and bare, exposed soil negatively impact soil microbes. These microscopic allies require a year-round living root to prosper, and long periods between harvest and planting without vegetation take a negative toll on their populations.
Reducing tillage and planting cover crops between “cash” crops are farming methods that build beneficial soil microbes. Also, microbes are finicky about the chemistry of the soil and usually need some nutrient balancing to thrive. Balancing soil health to support beneficial soil microbes doesn’t happen overnight and often requires several years of consistent management to see results.
Unpredictable weather, increased pest pressure, and market fluctuations make farming risky. Changes in behavior happen over time and must be built on successes, not failures. Through providing cost-share payments for soil health building practices, the SHP Program buffers the risk for farmers with a safety net. SHR Program provides three consecutive years of cost-share payments for 1.) soil testing and nutrient management consulting, and 2.) fall/winter cover crops for enrolled fields.
The SHR Program is a good fit for any farmer in Owen or Morgan County that is interested cover crops, precise nutrient management, and reduced tillage. This program is an especially good fit for farmers that value data-driven, innovative farming techniques.
Participants must be willing to commit the same field for three years in order to participate. Acre requirement is minimum of 10 acres and maximum of 100 acres per participant. Maximum payment is $30 per acre each year
THIS PROGRAM IS NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS
Local Conservation Grant Program
The Morgan County Local Conservation Grant Program is locally funded and is designed to provide cost-share financial assistance to Morgan County residents who would like to implement conservation practices on their land. Applications are accepted every year, provided funds are available. Projects can vary widely in type. Some previous projects funded have been cover crops, pollinator habitats, invasive plant species control, and conservation modifications to farming equipment. Maximum Payment allowed is $1000 through this program.
Southwest Conservation Alliance
The Southwest Conservation Alliance Program is a 1 year program in which participants receive cost share assistance from Clean Water Indiana for their participation. We are excited to partner with 22 other counties in Southwest Indiana in order to provide this opportunity to farmers and landowners in Morgan County! Participants will receive cost-share financial assistance for planting cover crops.
Participating acres will be ranked according to program guidelines. Acre requirement is minimum of 10 acres and maximum of 100 acres per participant. Maximum payment is $20 per acre year. Program is funded through 2021.