357-9 First Steps: Creation of the Northeast Cover Crops Council and Initial Development of Outreach Products.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017: 11:25 AM
Marriott Tampa Waterside, Grand Ballroom C
Despite the well-documented benefits of cover crops, relatively little crop ground is regularly planted to cover crops in the Northeast US. Surveys such as that done annually by CTIC and NCR-SARE reveal that barriers to cover crop adoption include the difficulty of selecting cover crops that fit into a rotation and meet farmer goals/constraints, cover crop establishment, and the time/labor required to plant cover crops during the busy fall harvest season. The Northeast US has a long history of cover crop research that addresses barriers to cover crop adoption. However, the information is scattered across states and institutions. The Northeast Cover Crops Council (NECCC) was formed in 2016 to support the successful implementation of cover crops to maximize economic, environmental, and social benefits. The NECCC facilitates regional collaboration between farmers, researchers, and the public to foster the exchange of information, inspiration, and outcome-based research. The NECCC consists of representatives from academia, government agencies, NGOs, and industry and covers Maine to Maryland. An approximately 20-member General Board and a six-member Executive Board form the governance structure. The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) has agreed to act as fiscal sponsor for the NECCC, handling financial matters. The NECCC is actively fostering collaborations and creating outreach products [e.g., a website (northeastcovercrops.com) and a state-specific cover crop selection tool based on that created by the Midwest Cover Crops Council]. The NECCC will host a two-day meeting on Nov. 8-9, 2017, which is open to the public. The NECCC is positioning itself to serve as the hub for cover crop information, strengthening the sustainability of Northeast cropping systems.
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