Skip to Content

Local farmer turns to cover crops to combat climate change

Remaining Ad Time Ad - 00:00

BLUFFTON, Ind. (WPTA21) - Farmers have always always adjusted to changing weather conditions over the years. But more extreme weather events are happening more often, forcing them to adapt in new ways.

One farmer near Bluffton says that adaption is not only good for the ground, but also helping his farm become more productive--and profitable.

Farmer Rick Johnloz says one solution may be cover crops.

Those studying climate change's affects on agriculture agree that cover crops are an important solution for farmers when building a climate-friendly future.

"So cover crops can help build soil organic matter, allow the soil to hold more water, protect the soil against rapid temperature changes."

--Eileen Kladivko, Purdue University Professor of Agronomy

Rick Johnloz's farm has participated in a cover crops study for the last five years, and he likes the results he's seeing. Johnloz says he's seen an improvement in soil organic matter and an increase in yields over the previous year. That's surprising to Johnloz.

Now that he's seeing results, Johnloz plans to continue the trend of increased productivity. He says he's going to plant cereal rye cover crops across his entire field this year.

Cover crops do add cost to a farm, and Johnloz says cover crops also require extra work. That extra work can mean doing some research.

"Seek information from a variety of sources, which would include local farmers, local conservation staff. Because there's a lot to learn and you can save yourself some of the learners mistakes if you talk to and learn from some other people first."

--Eileen Kladivko, Purdue University Professor of Agronomy

Given the work and cost, Johnloz still feels planting cover crops is worth it. At the end of the day, farmers may just need to experience the benefits for themselves.

And at the end of the day, Johnloz says it all goes back to the core mission of every farmer.

"It's all about being a good steward of the land. And farmers I think instinctually want to do that."

--Rick Johnloz
Author Profile Photo

Gabe Prough

Gabe Prough is the Weekend Evening Meteorologist for ABC21. A northeast Indiana native, he joined the StormTrack weather team in December 2019.

Skip to content