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Project overview

During the Fall of 2008, students in AGRN 378 (Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition) at Western Illinois University interviewed over 40 farmers with experience using cover crops in agronomic cropping systems across the Midwest region. Contact information for potential interview candidates was obtained through extensive networking with farmers, USDA/university specialists, cover crop seed vendors and other ag professionals. Interviews were conducted primarily by email and phone and information gathered through the interviews was presented in 2-4 page cover crop innovator profiles. Dr. Joel Gruver edited the profiles and assembled them into this compilation.

Through this project, students gained insight into cover cropping directly from innovative farmers maximizing the credibility of the information and student recognition that integration of cover crops within agronomic systems can be very beneficial but requires on-farm innovation. Collaborating farmers gained access to information about and contact information for other cover crop innovators. The cover crop innovator profiles generated by this project have been well received by farmers, extension educators, ag industry professionals and have been used as readings in subsequent classes.


First and foremost, this project would not have been possible without the hardworking students of AGRN 378 and the accommodating farmers that shared their experiences with cover crops, mostly right in the middle of a very busy harvest season. THANK YOU!
Thank you to everyone that helped track down contact information for potential interview candidates – with special thanks to Dan Towery who provided an extensive list of contacts.
Thank you to Mike Plumer, Barry Fisher and other USDA/university cover crop enthusiasts that contributed to the adoption of cover crops by many of the collaborating farmers.
Thank you to GIS specialist extraordinaire Amelia Fox for creating several sets of maps of the farm locations.
Thank you to everyone else that contributed to this project.

To view innovator profiles, click here.

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