These Programs Will Pay Kansas Farmers for Crops They Won't Harvest
Thursday, August 01, 2019
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (HPPR / KNS) — Three years ago, rancher and farmer Jay Young got intrigued by a YouTube video.
A North Dakota farmer championed the idea of cover crops — plants that would be considered weeds in many other contexts — as robust plants for his cattle to graze on.
Young applied the cover crop strategy – rotating rye, radishes, turnips, oats and barley – to his land just east of the Colorado border. The plants held the soil in place, trapped nutrients in the ground and made the ground nicely spongy.
Partly as a way to prop up farmers who lost crops to flooding this spring, and partly as a way to protect the soil, a federal farm program now offers farmers in 67 flooded Kansas counties from $30 to $45 an acre to put down cover crops.
Meantime, a fledgling private effort is beginning to offer another cover crop bonus: payments intended to capture more carbon in the soil and reduce greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change.