Iowa Cover Crops Working Group

people looking at cover crop in field stubbleview of alfalfa and winter wheat

The Iowa Cover Crops Working Group is part of the Midwest Cover Crops Council, which is a working group affiliated with Green Lands, Blue Waters. The mission of the MCCC is to significantly increase the amount of continuous living cover on the Upper Midwestern agricultural landscape.

Iowa team leaders are Sarah Carlson (Practical Farmers of Iowa) and Tom Kaspar (USDA-ARS).

The short-term goals of the Iowa Cover Crops Working Group:

  • Identify priorities and barriers to implementation of cover crops
  • Design and establish mechanisms of communication
  • Exchange cross-regional learning and innovation
  • Provide a unified voice from academy, non-profit and industry sectors about the importance of cover crops and related innovations such as green manures
  • Improve availability of funding to research these systems
  • Offer a coordinated effort to use cover crops in systems
  • Generate supportive policy at local, state and federal levels

As part of the MCCC, the long-term goals:

  • Improve productivity and quality of crops, including vegetables, perennials, corn, soybeans, small grains, food grains, forages, biofuels, industrial uses, ornamentals, and multi-purpose crops by integrating cover crops into the systems
  • Create reasonable cost of establishment
  • Develop new plant materials
  • Produce adequate seed supply
  • Ensure availability and feasibility of technology and equipment
  • Better integrate ecologies, economies and stewardship practices of urban and rural communities
  • Facilitate policy change to support these aims