Great Lakes Ag Retailers show great interest in “Increasing Cover Crop Sales for Ag Retailers Opportunities for Revenue, Soil Health and Water Quality”, a recent webinar presented by the Partnership for Ag Resource Management(PARM). Ag retailers representing all of the Great Lakes states plus Ontario, Canada participated.
Dean Baas, Senior Research Associate for Michigan State University Extension and member of the Midwest Cover Crops Council Executive Committee, discussed cover crop impacts on soil health, benefits of various varieties, water holding benefits and motivations to implement cover crops. Baas states that “75% of ag retailers sometimes or never bring up cover crops to clients while 25% always or frequently do. We need to get these numbers flipped around.”
Steve Groff, founder of Cover Crop Solutions in Lititz, Pennsylvania, discussed cover crop profitability for both farmers and ag retailers, and impacts of grain prices of cover crop sales. One comment that hit home with many was “we need to treat our cover crops like we treat our cash crops, wanting and needing them to succeed. Some years crops are successful while others are not.”
Of webinar participants surveyed, 69% indicated that their understanding of cover crops improved from the webinar. Many ag retailers stated that they will use the webinar lessons to talk to their farmer clients from ‘a more informed perspective’ and advance the conversation even within their organization.
The usage trend for cover crops has been steadily on the increase over the past three years. A PARM survey in the Sandusky River Watershed amongst ag retails shows that cover crop usage has increased from about 1.8% of growers in 2012 to 9% in fall 2014. Weather factors and grain prices can weigh heavily on the decision making process.
Discover how offering cover crops to your grower clients can be beneficial to everyone’s bottom line. Learn about basic soil health principles and how cover crops are key to making those happen for your customers. Improving soil health not only cleans up water quality and reduces soil loss but also provides a better environment for cash crops to succeed.
To find out more about PARM visit: https://partnershipfarm.org/
If you weren’t able to attend, follow this link to view the webinar in its entirety: https://partnershipfarm.org/webinars/