Robotic Cover Crop Project Aims to Create Markets for Underserved Farmers

A new cover crop project led by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign received nearly $5 million through USDA’s Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities program. According to a press release, at sites in Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, and Iowa, the team plans to scale up robotic cover-crop planting from 1,000 acres in Year 1 to 20,000 in Year 4 — bringing the cost to less than $10 per acre. Additionally, the team will work with Tuskegee University to enable robotic, high-resolution measurements of soil carbon and to create markets for climate-smart projects for minority, underserved farmers growing specialty crops and animal products.