Oct 4, 2023
Parks & Rec actor touts soil, regenerative ag

Actor, author and woodworker Nick Offerman takes on his dirtiest role to date: a promotion to attract public attention to regenerative ag and healthy soil.

Offerman, a former Parks and Recreation TV series star who grew up on an Illinois farm, promotes regenerative agriculture by portraying worn-out topsoil healed by cover crops by starring in an Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) campaign.

Nick Offerman
Nick Offerman


NRDC is leading a campaign to persuade Congress to support the COVER Act as lawmakers negotiate a new Farm Bill to replace the current law, which was last adopted in 2018. The COVER Act would incentivize farmers to plant cover crops by offering them a $5-per-acre savings on their crop insurance bills, similar to how an auto insurer can reward good drivers with a discount, according to a news release.

Regenerative agriculture practices, including cover cropping, build soil health and fight climate change. They maintain roots in the soil, which sequester legacy carbon from the atmosphere, prevent soil erosion, percolate water quickly, protect waterways from pollution, increase soil fertility, and help farmers reduce their use of harmful chemicals and synthetic inputs, saving money. Currently, however, only about 5% of America’s cropland utilizes cover crops, according to the release.

The “Face Plant” campaign serves to enlighten and motivate the public and Congressional leaders on the importance of cover crops and their role in soil and food health, as well as the health of the planet. The campaign asks people to visit nrdc.org/soil to learn more about cover cropping and climate-friendly agriculture in the Farm Bill.

“I am grateful to finally exploit my talents as a dirty man of the soil to encourage the use of cover crops in pursuit of restoring the health of our nation’s fields,” Offerman said in the release. “We have a long way to go, and many more regenerative steps to take, but supporting this effort is a very good beginning.”

Natural Resources Defense Council logoOfferman is the face of the new campaign and plays the dirt in the lead spot, with only his scraped and pallid face visible as he talks directly to the camera about the daily harms he endures. He explains how “generations of chemicals and tilling have left me spent and lifeless—dried out, flaky, like dust in the wind,” then explains the vital role that cover crops can play in restoring the ground’s health as his face begins to take on a healthy glow and flowers spring up around him.

“Agricultural policy issues can really get in the weeds, pun intended, so we are enormously grateful to have Nick Offerman bring his talent, witty humor, and unique perspective to this piece,” Arohi Sharma, NRDC’s deputy director for regenerative agriculture, said in the release. “Cover crops are one of the best tools we have to improve soil health and fight climate change on farms, and this new video couldn’t be better timed. Congress made historic investments in climate and agriculture through the Inflation Reduction Act, and by including the COVER Act in the next Farm Bill, we can supercharge those investments and help farmers become climate champions.”

Farmers can help fight climate change by adopting regenerative agriculture practices that build soil health, including cover cropping. Cover crops are planted between cash crops, when the ground would otherwise be bare. They maintain living roots in the soil, and these living roots sequester carbon from the atmosphere, prevent soil erosion, protect waterways from pollution, increase soil fertility, and help farmers reduce their use of harmful chemicals and synthetic inputs, according to the release.

Started in 1970, NRDC is an international nonprofit environmental organization supported by 3 million members and online activists that uses science, policy, law, and people power to address the climate crisis, protect public health and safeguard nature, according to the release.

The spot began during late September’s Climate Week NYC.

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