Cost Share Programs Available to Help Farmers and Landowners Adopt Cover Crops
Practical Farmers of Iowa highlights cover crop cost-share programs during today’s Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here tour stop
DES MOINES, Iowa (May 19, 2021) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and Sarah Carlson, Strategic Initiatives Director of Practical Farmers of Iowa, joined the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here tour today to discuss cost share programs farmers and landowners can use to start planting cover crops.
“2020 was a record year for engagement in the state’s conservation cost-share programs, yet we still have a lot of work to do to reach our soil health and water quality goals,” said Secretary Naig. “I encourage all farmers and landowners to look for opportunities to add cover crops and other conservation practices to their fields. These programs are a great way to help you get started.”
“We are seeing more written about cover crops, farmers talking more about cover crops, farmers coming to the cover crop cost share programs who have never tried them before and are getting started, which are all good signs,” said Carlson. “There are so many cost-share opportunities to help get started using cover crops and de-risk that transition, there’s no reason not to get started this fall.”
Cover crops, like rye and oats, prevent soil erosion and lock in nutrients especially during extreme weather events. Cover crops are proven to reduce nitrogen loads by 28-31 percent and phosphorous loads by 29 percent, which helps improve water quality. They also offer weed control for row crops and an additional forage source for cattle producers.
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Statewide Cost Share Program
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is currently offering cost share funding for in-field management practices, including planting cover crops, transitioning acres to no-till/strip-till soil management or applying a nitrification inhibitor.
Farmers who are planting cover crops for the first time are eligible for $25 per acre and experienced cover crop users can receive $15 per acre. Producers using no-till or strip-till for the first time are eligible for $10 per acre. First time users may also apply for $3 per acre for applying fall fertilizer using a nitrapyrin-based nitrification inhibitor. Cost share funding through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is limited to 160 acres per farmer or landowner. Farmers and landowners should contact their local Soil and Water Conservation District office to sign up now.
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship – USDA RMA Crop Insurance Discount Program
Farmers and landowners who plant fall cover crops can apply for the state’s crop insurance discount program administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Risk Management Agency. Applicants may be eligible for a $5 per acre discount on their spring crop insurance premiums. To qualify, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or federal cost share programs. Sign-up will begin in the fall at cleanwateriowa.org/cropinsurancediscount.
Practical Farmers of Iowa Cost Share
Farmers and landowners who plant fall cover crops and sell their corn direct to Cargill at Eddyville or their soybeans to the ADM Des Moines supply chain can apply for cost share through Practical Farmers of Iowa. Applicants new to cover crops can receive $40 per acre on up to 40 acres. Applicants who have previously used cover crops can receive $10 per acre on 160 acres or 10 percent of acres farmed, whichever is larger. To qualify, cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in any other private cost share programs (ex. Indigo Carbon, Nori), however, acres can be enrolled in other public programs.
To find out more information and sign up today visit practicalfarmers.org/programs/cover-crops/cover-crop-cost-share-programs/.
About the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here Campaign
The campaign, created by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Iowa Soybean Association and Newsradio 1040 WHO aims to raise awareness about the conservation work underway all across Iowa. It also highlights opportunities for both rural and urban residents to use soil health and water quality best practices, and play an active role in conservation projects happening in their communities.
During the Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign, The Big Show will visit locations throughout the state showcasing the people and practices that are having a positive and measurable impact on water quality. The conversations with farmers, landowners, agribusinesses and community leaders will be broadcast on Wednesdays during The Big Show airing from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. on WHO and 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. on WMT.
The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign is a collaborative effort between a dozen public and private partners, including Agri-Drain, Hagie Manufacturing, Hands on Excavating, Heartland Co-op, Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance, Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Montag Manufacturing, Practical Farmers of Iowa, The Nature Conservancy and TruTerra.
The Clean Water in Iowa Starts Here campaign began in August 2020 and highlighted 16 conservation projects throughout the harvest season. For more information about the campaign, upcoming stops, and rural and urban soil health and water quality practices, visit CleanWaterIowa.org/CleanWaterStartsHere. For assistance implementing conservation practices or to get involved in a community-based project, visit a nearby USDA Service Center or Soil and Water Conservation District office.