Cover crop insurance program for farmers

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy and the United State Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency have joined forces to implement the Upper White River Crop Insurance Incentive Program.

Cover cropping has many benefits including increased organic matter, improved soil biology, better water infiltration, and better water-holding capacity. This practice also prevents nutrients and sediment from running off the farm, keeping them out of nearby waterbodies and streams.

Crop insurance is an integral part of the farm safety net that provides financial protection for farmers after bad weather impacts their crops. This project will provide eligible participants with a five dollar per acre premium discount on the following year’s crop insurance for every acre of cover crop enrolled and verified in the program.

Currently, this program is only available to farmers in Delaware, Hamilton, Henry, Madison, Randolph and Tipton Counties.

small stream on a farm
The West Fork of White River begins in a Randolph County farm field. Photo by Ron Weiss.

Conner Prairie and new trails along White River

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, which supports the engagement activities of Friends of the White River, is also working with other organizations focused on enhancing the waterway. One of those is Conner Prairie, the outdoor museum in Hamilton County.

At more than 1,000 acres, Conner Prairie is the largest remaining private landowner along the White River and commands a central role in the White River Vision Plan. The Trust recently committed $1 million for the Prairie Pathways Project, which will add 2.5 miles of River Legacy Trails with hubs and retreats that focus on the White River’s heritage, environmental significance and protection. The project also will improve the river’s health through habitat restoration and protection.

The effort is part of the Prairie’s $15 million Transformational Outdoor Nature Experience campaign, an outcome of the museum’s master plan study aiming to fully embrace the White River and provide greater access to it. The Trust noted it “is pleased to help Conner Prairie grow in ways that support the White River Plan’s vision for a waterway that is a clean, natural, historic, connected and an active asset for Central Indiana residents to enjoy.”

Friends continues to provide input on the Vision Plan, which is looking at opportunities and mechanisms to enhance the river in and along a 58-mile stretch encompassing it through Marion and Hamilton County. Below: White River Vision Plan video.

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White River, below & above the surface

White River is the subject of both an online presentation and a welcome news story!

This coming Friday, January 22, beginning at 1 p.m., Friends of the White River is co-sponsoring “Below the Surface,” a free online presentation about how fish and other macroinvertebrates are faring below the surface.  Presenters include biologists and water scientists from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Learn more.

Also, today’s Anderson Herald-Bulletin is running a story by reporter Don Knight about a new 50-acre nature preserve across White River from Mounds State Park. The Hidden Canal Nature Preserve is a project of the Red-tail Land Conservancy and ensures both sides of the free-flowing White River will remain undeveloped.

quiet river with wooded banks
Photo of White River in Madison County by Jerry Byard