Reduced tillage leaves stalks and plant matter from the prior year’s harvest on the ground, providing a “blanket” that prevents soil erosion and protects water quality.
Cover crops like rye and oats are planted in the off-season to hold nutrients in the field. In spring, the nutrients are recycled back into the soil, creating rich organic matter for the primary crop, like soybeans, to thrive on, reducing fertilizer needs.
Buffers use strips of grass or other vegetation to trap valuable nutrients and sediment from being carried off fields by heavy rain. By slowing down water, buffers filter out about 50% of nutrients and crop protectants.
Natural wetlands. Near waterways and in significant watershed areas, farmers have been slowly releasing acreage from crop production and allowing it to return to its natural wetland state. Soy producers have converted thousands of acres in their states along streams and rivers from farmland to wetlands in the last 20 years.