No-till on the Plains has a long history of supporting farmers and helping them implement practices that improve the health of the soil and the sustainability of their operations.
So, the organization is a natural fit to partner with Country Crock and its parent company, Upfield, in a new sustainability initiative called The Cover Crops Project, aimed at helping farmers in eastern Kansas and western Missouri improve soil health on their farms, one of the key benefits of regenerative farming.
The project will also get a publicity boost from country music icon and cookbook author Martina McBride, a Kansas native who will promote it on iHeartRadio’s Red Barn Sessions, which Country Crock sponsors. The Red Barn Sessions feature some of the most notable rising country music artists.
“I'm a Kansas native who was raised on a farm and a mom who loves to cook, so I’m passionate about healthier eating, bringing people together around good food and creating a more sustainable future. That’s why I’m excited to team up with Country Crock to share more about The Cover Crops Project,” McBride says. “The foods we eat are made from crops that are grown by hardworking farmers who make decisions every day about what to grow, when to plant and how to protect their farms’ soil.
“More people should know how practices like cover crops help improve the soil underpinning our food supply, which in turn will enable families to enjoy products like Country Crock for generations to come.”
Country Crock is a Kansas company based in Johnson County. Its signature product is a plant-based butter substitute. It’s parent company, Upfield, is an international company that produces a variety of spreads sold worldwide.
“At Country Crock, we aim to bring a little bit of the country into everything that we do,” says Marisa Kololyan, brand director for Country Crock. “We are now extending this beyond the literal country-fresh taste of our spreads and the farm-grown ingredients that we use to make them, to new initiatives like The Cover Crops Project to partner with farmers who share our Kansas country roots, and trusted country voices like Martina McBride, who will help us spread our message to consumers everywhere.”
Steve Swaffer, executive director of No-till on the Plains, says the organization’s role will be administering cost-sharing funds, recruiting participating farmers, educating them about the project and making sure that they meet the qualifications for the program.
13,000 acres for 2020
For this year, there will be an enrollment maximum of 13,000 acres from farms in the eastern four tiers of counties in Kansas and the westernmost tier of counties in Missouri. Participating farmers must enroll at least 40 acres and agree to provide Farm Service Agency 578 documentation for enrolled acres. Only fields not previously planted to cover crops are eligible.
Participants will agree to provide a receipt or the purchase of cover crop seed and will then be reimbursed $10 per acre of seed cost. They will also agree to provide field cropping and practice history for Field-to-Market Fieldprint Calculator. Farmers will be working with soil health consultant Doug Peterson to get the information for the Fieldprint Calculator.
While most of the initially enrolled acres are soybean fields, there is no requirement to plant soybeans on the same ground in 2021. There will be another enrollment in the summer and all of 2021.
To celebrate The Cover Crops Project, Country Crock and Martina McBride will journey back to their roots, honoring their shared love of Country Music with the Red Barn Sessions. In collaboration with iHeartRadio, the Red Barn Sessions will connect with music fans.
The first session aired Sept. 29 with a conversation between McBride and country singer Gabby Barrett. The lineup also includes platinum-selling songwriter Jimmie Allen and CMT’s Cody Alan, among others. All content will be available to stream at countrycrock.com/RedBarnSessions.
As part of the Red Barn Sessions, Country Crock has teamed up with McBride to offer the opportunity to win a virtual meet-and-greet, along with a signed Gibson guitar and a $10,000 cash prize. From Oct. 12 until Dec. 28, fans can visit countrycrock.com to enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win; terms and conditions apply.
Farmers who are interested in participating can go to the No-till on the Plains website at notill.org, and fill out the questionnaire. Peterson will follow up.
This article contains information supplied by Upfield.