Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig is reminding farmers who planted cover crops in fall 2019 that the deadline to sign up for a $5-per-acre reduction on their 2020 crop insurance premiums for cash crops such as corn and soybeans is quickly approaching. “The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will accept applications for the crop insurance discount until Jan. 15,” he says.
Farmers and landowners can sign up online at apply.cleanwateriowa.org. Fall 2019 cover crop acres enrolled in other state or federal cover crop cost-share programs are not eligible. Farmers who received prevented planting payments in 2019 are still eligible for the discounted insurance premiums — if they planted fall cover crops.
“Cover crops offer multiple benefits to farmers and landowners; they are proven to reduce nutrient loads, improve soil health and can be used for livestock grazing,” Naig says. “This program is just one of many options farmers can use to implement innovative conservation practices on their land.”
Some insurance policies not eligible
The insurance premium reductions are being made available for fall-planted cover crops with a spring-planted cash crop. However, some insurance policies may be excluded, such as Whole-Farm Revenue Protection or those policies covered through written agreements that specify the policies aren’t eligible for the discount. Participants must follow all existing farming practices required by their policy and work with their crop insurance agent to maintain eligibility.
This is a joint, three-year demonstration project administered by IDALS and USDA’s Risk Management Agency to increase the use of cover crops in Iowa. More than 1,200 farmers have applied for this program and planted 300,000 acres of cover crops in the past two years. The Iowa program offers the crop insurance incentive to expand the use of cover crops to improve water quality. It provides $5 for every cover crop acre applied for and verified by IDALS.
Farmers are encouraged to visit their local USDA Service Center offices to learn about other funding available to support the implementation of conservation practices.