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Cover Crop Analyzer
Cover Crop Analyzer Tool

The cover crop project seeks to provide farmers with a practical web-based decision support tool designed to help manage cover crops in their fields. The project makes use of existing research to demonstrate the potential for cover crops, as well as providing useful information for decision making and management of this practice. It will also seek to apply future research on cover crops as results are incorporated into updates and new iterations of the tool. This remains a work in progress with a goal towards adapting with the science.

Latest in Gardner Policy Series

Reference Price Disparities & Why It Matters to Farmers

Increasing reference prices has important implications on the topline spending projections by CBO. Buried beneath these projections are implications for farmers. Critical to this is an oddity unique to the farm payment programs (Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC)): base acres. The payments from these programs are decoupled from what a farmer plants and, thus, from the risks of producing the crop, as well as its costs.

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Gardner Policy Series: Farm Bill

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Spending Impacts of House Proposal for Commodity Title Changes

The House Proposal for the Commodity Title would significantly increase commodity title spending. Farmers with base acres of the Southern crops (peanuts, rice, and cotton) would have much higher increases in payments than farmers with base acres of those program crops grown in most of the country. The House Proposal would increase payments more for southern and Delta states than for other regions.

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Statutory Reference Prices and the Next Farm Bill

Both the House and Senate Ag Committees are considering increases to the statutory reference prices for some or all program crops. Increasing statutory reference prices would result in the largest increase in spending of the changes being discussed for the commodity title. Moreover, raising statutory reference prices will have disproportionate impacts across crops, increasing commodity program spending proportionally more for peanuts, rice, and seed cotton than for corn, soybeans, and wheat.

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Base Acre Updating in the Next Farm Bill

Voluntary base acre updates will not reduce discrepancies between base acres from current planting. Solving under-based issues with a voluntary update can occur, but Federal spending will increase. Mandatory updates can more effectively reduce differences between base and planted acres. Moreover, adding base acres with a mandatory update is possible at lower costs than with a voluntary update. However, mandatory updates will cause some farms and regions to lose commodity title support relative to current levels.

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Gardner Policy Series: Trade

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Ripple Effects of Shipping Lane Disruptions on U.S. Agriculture

The crises in the Panama Canal and the Red Sea have highlighted the vulnerabilities of U.S. agricultural trade to environmental and geopolitical factors. These disruptions have increased transportation costs, prolonged transit times, and potential market losses. It is increasingly clear that the development of sustainable and flexible supply chain solutions is not just advantageous but essential for maintaining and enhancing the flow of U.S. agricultural trade.

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Where Could the US-Mexico GM Corn Dispute End Up?

Background to the Dispute The recent announcement by the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) that it was requesting technical consultations with Mexico under the Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures…

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IFES 2019: Trade, MFP, and Policy Directions

A variety of trade actions undertaken by the Trump Administration have resulted in retaliation from various U.S. trading partners. Tariffs imposed on U.S. agricultural goods have negatively impacted export levels and commodity prices. To address these trade damages, the Administration has used Commodity Credit Corporation authority to provide support to farmers. The Market Facilitation Program, designed by the USDA and administered through the Farm Service Agency, has provided billions in trade aid over the past two crop years.

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Gardner Policy Series: Conservation & Other

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Rural Growth Requires More Housing

Housing availability and affordability is a crucial issue facing both rural and urban communities. Communities that can provide an array of housing options are better positioned to attract and retain…

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Workforce Trends in the Midwest’s Food, Agriculture, and Forestry Industries

Many industries face workforce challenges, and industries related to food, agriculture, and forestry are no exception. This article describes several employment trends within the Midwest’s food, agriculture, and forestry industries. We explore employment trends within industries related to production agriculture, agricultural support and services, food and beverage manufacturing, and forestry and wood products. Importantly, we examine these activities through an occupational lens.

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Don’t Sleep on Drought this Winter

Consecutive drier growing seasons have depleted deeper layer soil moisture and dropped water table levels across much of Illinois. Without near to wetter than normal conditions in winter, dry soil conditions could persist into the spring. El Niño conditions in the Pacific increase the chances of drier and warmer than normal weather, which could also impede longer-term drought recovery, especially in parts of western Illinois that have accumulated the largest deficits since the start of 2022.

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