The Environmental Working Group used satellite imagery to compare cover crop acreage and found an increase in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois from 2015-2017.
The sustainable farming practice of cover cropping grew in Iowa in 2018, but is still far below the goal called for in Iowa's Nutrient Reduction Strategy. Cover crops are planted in the off-season to help protect soil from water and wind erosion and reduce nutrient runoff into waterways. Using satellite imagery, the Environmental Working Group compared cover-crop acreage in Iowa, Indiana and Illinois from 2015-2017, and found a net increase in all three states. Iowa's acreage grew about 16% last year. Report author Soren Rundquist said it's a step in the right direction, but far from what is needed.