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Indiana sets new records in conservation efforts

Indiana sets new records in conservation efforts

By Andi Anderson

Indiana has marked another successful year in agricultural conservation, setting new records in the number of practices implemented to maintain and improve soil health.

The Indiana Conservation Partnership (ICP) reports that in 2024, over 50,000 new conservation practices were installed by local landowners, an increase from the previous year's record of 47,000.

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, who also serves as Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development, praised the ongoing efforts: "Hoosier farmers and conservationists are continually elevating their stewardship practices, ensuring vital nutrients and topsoil remain where they belong—on our fields."

These conservation practices have significantly positive impacts, including the prevention of approximately 1.6 million tons of sediment and over 5.4 million pounds of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from entering Indiana's waterways.

The ICP's efforts have facilitated the planting of over 1.6 million acres of living cover, such as cover crops and winter wheat, across the state in the past year. These efforts not only improve soil health but also sequester around 41,000 tons of soil organic carbon annually.

Key conservation methods in Indiana include cover crops, nutrient management, and tillage management, among others.

Damarys Mortenson, the State Conservationist from the Indiana Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), emphasized the benefits: "Our farmers are implementing soil health principles that boost organic matter and microbial activity, reducing costs while enhancing yields and profits."

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Don Lamb also celebrated this achievement, noting the importance of collaborative efforts: "Thanks to strong partnerships and committed landowners, Indiana continues to lead in agricultural conservation, paving the way for sustainable farming and environmental stewardship."

The ICP, comprising various public and nonprofit groups including the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, Purdue Extension, and more, plays a pivotal role in Indiana’s Nutrient Reduction Strategy.

This strategy is essential for setting priorities, managing resources, and involving stakeholders in conservation efforts across the state, thus ensuring a sustainable future for Indiana's agricultural landscape.

Photo Credit:gettyimages-sasiistock

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Categories: Indiana, Sustainable Agriculture

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