By stacking incentives, some farmers could get paid $100 or more per acre for planting new cover crops and reducing tillage, but it’s not always easy to keep track of all the programs out there. A new tool is beginning to solve that problem.

It’s an Iowa-specific cost share guide that allows farmers to compare public and private program details for cover crops, no-till, and reduced-till - all in one place. The guide, located at, is a pilot project by the Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance (IAWA), a nonprofit formed by the Iowa soybean, pork, and corn associations. The pilot will soon expand into an interactive tool.

“Our vision for the guide and its growth is to empower farmers and landowners to make the best decision for their unique farms,” said IAWA Communications Director, Rebekah Jones, who led the creation of the guide. “We spent months interviewing farmer-facing staff and learned that highest rates are not always the most critical factor. For example, some farmers prioritize contract length or ease of signup. Whatever is most important to them - this makes it easier to compare that information.”

Cover crops and no-till improve water quality by preventing erosion and nutrient runoff and enhancing soil health, which are outcomes directly related to IAWA’s mission. This guide is inspired by and compliments the work of many IAWA partners who are also leading water quality efforts.

“This guide will support our partners’ work – whether it’s coaching farmers through first-time cover crop questions, helping with existing program signup, or fundraising for new programs,” said Jeff Lucas, IAWA Executive Director.

There are millions of dollars and dozens of programs to offset costs like seed purchases or drone application. Program payments can also help mitigate the risk of yield drags.

So far, IAWA’s guide includes seven programs. More are on the way. It also shows which two programs will stack on top of each other for maximum dollars per acre.

IAWA is also accepting new program additions. There are requirements to ensure sustainable growth of the guide and standardized, unbiased information gathering. For requirements, visit the FAQ section of

To view the guide, visit

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