Introducing the Western Cover Crops Council

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Brassica cover crop mix in Colusa, CA. Photo courtesy of Clair Akin.

The Western Cover Crops Council (WCCC) is a networking organization whose mission is to facilitate and enhance communication and collaboration that promotes the successful adoption of cover cropping into Western U.S. agricultural systems. The Western Cover Crops Council is creating a new cover crop selection tool that will assist producers in making decisions about which cover crop species are best suited to their operation. 

Cover crops are crops that are planted in the off season, in space that would otherwise remain fallow. These plants are not harvested for profit, but are planted for a variety of other purposes. Some of the benefits of cover crops include increasing soil health and water holding capacity, while decreasing erosion and nutrient runoff. The implementation of cover crops can play a key role in increasing farm resilience to extreme weather. 

However, as more and more varieties of cover crops are introduced, producers repeat the same questions. What do I plant? When do I plant it? When and how do I terminate? The answer, up until now, has been it depends! It depends on the climate, and the individual context of each farm. What type of climate are you in? What goals do you have? What equipment do you have available to terminate the cover crop? 

Cover Crop Selection Tool 

In an effort to help farmers tackle these questions, the Western Cover Crops Council is in the process of creating an online, interactive cover crop selection tool. This tool will incorporate the experience of local farmers, researchers, seed companies, nonprofits and other individuals that utilize cover crops. It will function in a similar way as the Midwest Cover Crop Decision Tool

To capture the individualism and unique challenges of farming in New Mexico, we are in need of volunteers that are willing to share their experience with cover crops to assist in the development of this tool. Meetings will take place about once a month! 

If you, or someone you know may be interested, please contact Clair Akin. 

If you’d like to stay up to date with the Western Cover Crops Council and their various projects, including the Cover Crop Selection Tool, click here to become a member! 

3 Responses

  1. melanie deason

    Glad you are bringing cover crops, an important best management practice, to western states. Long over due and so important to re-establish the aquifers underneath. Otherwise it like having a glass of water without a lid – it just evaporates off!

  2. Elaine Cornick

    I live in Central Oregon. Will this work for Oregon, too?

    • admin

      Good question, Elaine! Suggest to contact the coordinator Clair Akin at
      She’ll be able to answer this best. Thanks for your interest!

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