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New Datu Report: Adoption of Conservation Agriculture: Economic Incentives in the Iowa Corn Value Chain

Conservation agriculture can create far-reaching environmental and economic benefits, yet farmers may need help bearing the short-term risks and costs. This study asks if two actors in the Iowa corn value chain—landowners and insurance providers—could be tapped to support practices such as no-till, cover cropping, and crop rotation.

The authors flag an important obstacle to wider adoption: the time lag farmers face before their yields increase, which in some cases could take years. To further develop economic incentives for farmers, the study recommends systematic research on the yield effects of conservation agriculture.

At present, the study found that 23% of Iowa respondents were using cover crops, mostly on fewer than 100 acres, suggesting that farmers may be trying them out before committing to adoption on a larger scale.

Media Coverage:
Farm Journal/AgWeb
Iowa Farmer Today
Take Part
National Wildlife Federation
Big Picture Agriculture
The Grand Isle Independent
Iowa Environmental Focus
Twin Cities Daily Planet

Citations:
ADM/Unilever brochure, “Sustainable Soy: Continuous Improvement Program”