New state soil program aims to increase sustainable, profitable farming
A new state soil sampling program for farmers is now accepting applications. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture’s program aims to help farmers manage soil nutrients to better their farming practices.
The free program is designed for farmers managing row crop fields, pastures and specialty crops in Indiana’s portion of the Mississippi River Basin. Indiana’s Mississippi River Basin Soil Sampling Program will provide soil sampling for these farmers on a routine basis.
Samples from eligible farms will be submitted to contracted labs to test soil fertility. This will include two to four samples from each field.
When tested for soil fertility, the lab will look for aspects of the soil such as soil pH, the amount of organic matter in soil and magnesium.
Then, the labs will provide a results packet following testing with lab results, nutrient application recommendations for these crops and educational materials for farmers.
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In a press release, program advocates and ISDA officials said this process will help produce crops more sustainably and profitably.
Participating growers applying for the program will be prioritized if their fields have never been sampled before, have not been sampled regularly (i.e., not sampled within the last three to four years) and new program enrollments. These priority groups may change based on interest in the program.
Interested farmers can sign up on the ISDA’s website.