Iowa farmers who plant cover crops this fall (2017) may be eligible for a $5 per acre premium reduction on their crop insurance in 2018. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) worked with the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA), who oversees the federal crop insurance program, to establish a 3-year demonstration project aimed at expanding the usage of cover crops in Iowa.
IDALS will open the online sign-up and application process for farmers and landowners to certify eligible land for the program at the following link: cleanwateriowa.org/covercropdemo.
Crop insurance is an integral part of the farm safety net that helps farmers manage the risks associated with growing a crop and provides protection for farmers impacted by severe weather and challenging growing seasons. Cover crops can help prevent erosion and improve water quality and soil health, among other benefits.
“Crop insurance is critical to the health of the rural economy, and proper use of cover crops is critical to the health of the soil that farmers need,” said RMA Acting Administrator Heather Manzano.
Applications will be taken until January 15, 2018. Cover crop acres currently enrolled in state and/or federal programs are not eligible for this program.
Cover crop seeding dates have recently been extended. Farmers are encouraged to continue seeding winter hardy cover crops as harvest wraps up to provide protection from the elements this spring.