CTIC project updates

Cover Crop Math
The outcomes of our Cover Crop Math project, which was completed in September, are still being shared widely. Corn & Soybean Digest used one of the fourteen feature stories produced by CTIC as the publication’s cover story in April. The story features Illinois farmers John and Dean Werries.
Several more of those feature stories are scheduled to run in Corn & Soybean Digest in the coming months, which includes their website. CTIC will also publish those stories on our website in the near future. For more information, contact Mike Smith at smith@ctic.org.
Supply Chain Sustainability in Iowa
CTIC recently applied to extend our supply chain sustainability project in Iowa for another three years.  Because we are optimistic about that application’s success, we are simultaneously pursuing NRCS funding to enhance that project with farmer-led field demonstrations similar to those that were critical to the success of our Indian Creek Watershed project in Illinois.  If your organization would like to be part of the planning or implementation of these demos, contact Chad Watts at watts@ctic.org as soon as possible for more information.
Bee Integrated 
CTIC manages the Bee Integrated project on behalf of the Honey Bee Health Coalition to demonstrate how farmers and beekeepers can collaborate on a practical system of best practices to improve pollinator health outcomes. After completing a successful pilot year in 2017, Bee Integrated is on track to enroll additional farmer-beekeeper pairs this spring. The project’s first year yielded valuable insight into what it takes to integrate individual best practices into a practical system for working farms and beekeeping operations. Contact Mike Smith at smith@ctic.org for more information. 
National Water Quality Initiative:
CTIC is currently working with USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on a project in support of the National Water Quality Initiative (NWQI). This project is identifying successful watershed management activities that engage landowners, farmers, and the broader public to protect water quality. Insights developed through this project will inform future NRCS efforts to support local watershed initiatives with technical and financial resources.
As a first step, CTIC gathered with watershed leaders from across the country at five forums to learn from their experience—successful or otherwise—with diverse watershed management and communication strategies. The forums took place in North Carolina, Illinois, Washington, Vermont and Oklahoma.  For more information, contact Chad Watts at watts@ctic.org.
National Aquatic Resource Surveys:
CTIC is writing a series of articles profiling farmers who have improved habitat and reduced nutrient loading in surface waters. The articles will be designed for placement in agricultural publications, environmental media and local newspapers to highlight environmental improvements by farmers and to inspire others to protect water quality.
We’re looking for examples of great on-farm projects where voluntary nutrient management practices, habitat restoration and/or structural improvements are reducing nutrient loading and other water quality impairments. If you know of a project or a farmer that fits this description, contact Chad Watts at watts@ctic.org.
CTIC is currently working with Applied GeoSolutions, a data analytics company based out of New Hampshire, to refine and implement a remote sensing-based system that estimates crop residue amounts and determines the presence or absence of cover crops on cropland. Through this technology, called the Operational Tillage Information System (OpTIS), CTIC will lead the next phase of the Crop Residue Management (CRM) survey, which CTIC operated between 1989 and 2004.
The current OpTIS project will collect crop residue and cover crops data from the U.S. Corn Belt between 2005 and 2017, filling gaps in tillage records that have widened since CTIC’s last national survey in 2004.  In addition to documenting farm management, OpTIS uses established models to estimate environmental outcomes including soil carbon sequestration, nutrient movement, greenhouse gas emissions, and water holding capacity.  Data and information from OpTIS should be available from CTIC in the spring of 2019. You can contact Chad Watts at watts@ctic.org for more information.