Perdue Farms has the initiative to improve the planet through the education of Indiana farmers and producers. The Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation has awarded the Conservation Cropping Systems Initiative (CCSI) $10,000. CCSI is a program of the Indiana Conservation Partnership with a mission of improving soil health on Indiana cropland. “Our partnership with Perdue will further help CCSI to address environmental concerns as well as help our Indiana farmers become more resilient to extreme weather events and challenging market conditions,” CCSI Director Lisa Holscher said.
In the Washington, Indiana area alone, the Perdue Farms Turkey Operation consists of 180 farm family partners who rear Perdue flocks and approximately 150 local grain farmers who provide corn to feed the flocks. In addition, Perdue purchases over 70,000 ton of soybean meal annually with soybeans provided by grain farmers from across the state of Indiana. The positive impact of CCSI would give a direct benefit to Perdue’s local farmers and ranchers.
“The Indiana Conservation Partnership, through its Conservation Cropping System Initiative, has a long, successful history of educating farmers and communities on ways to improve soil health on Indiana cropland, especially through the use of cover crops,” said Steve Levitsky, Vice President of Sustainability for Perdue Farms. “At Perdue, we believe in addressing the health of soils to ensure farmers have sustainable, viable cropland while benefiting the environment.”
The funds requested of the Perdue Foundation will go towards supporting CCSI soil health outreach and education efforts. Since 2011, through an active outreach and education program that includes farmer-mentors, researchers, and top soil-health advisors, CCSI has held education events that have reached over 26,000 attendees. A consistent, science-based, farmer-proven soil health message has been core to the increased adoption of soil health practices, including cover crops – which now rank third, behind corn and soybeans as Indiana’s most commonly grown crop.
“We are honored to invest in a program like this. It not only educates the farmers on healthy practices but also enriches the soil and improves the environment,” said Kim Nechay, Executive Director of the Franklin P. and Arthur W. Perdue Foundation.