DES MOINES, Iowa (Nov. 5, 2020) — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that farmers who plant cover crops this fall may be eligible for a $5 per acre discount on their spring 2021 cash crop insurance premiums. To qualify, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or federal cover crop cost share programs.
“The 2020 growing season posed significant weather challenges but farmers can adopt cover crops to mitigate some of the damage to their fields,” said Secretary Naig. “In addition to their livestock grazing and weed management benefits, cover crops reduce soil erosion and improve soil health, which will help prepare the fields for spring planting.”
Cover crops, like rye and oats, prevent soil erosion and lock in nutrients, especially during extreme weather events. Cover crops are also proven to reduce nitrogen loads by 28-31 percent and phosphorous loads by 29 percent, which helps improve water quality.
This is the fourth year the crop insurance discount program is being administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). Interest in the program continues to grow and new farmers and fields join each year. To date, about 1,700 farmers and nearly 500,000 acres of cover crops have participated in the program.
Farmers can sign up now for the cover crop insurance premium reduction program at apply.cleanwateriowa.org. Applications will be accepted through Jan. 15, 2021.
Some insurance policies may be excluded, like Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, or those covered through written agreements. Participants must follow all existing farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agencies to maintain eligibility.
Farmers should to visit their local USDA service center offices to learn more about other cost share funding available to support the implementation of conservation practices.