Applications opened at midnight on Dec. 15 for the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s second year of the Fall Covers for Spring Savings program. Farmers earn a discount on next year’s crop insurance bill by planting cover crops on land where they haven’t before — but space is limited and filling fast.
Applications are open until Jan. 15, but if last year is any indication, the 50,000 acres that can receive a $5 rebate on crop insurance premiums will fill up fast.
Related: Subsidize your step into cover crops
The state of Illinois spent $300,000 in the 2020 budget and the same amount again in the 2021 budget to apply a $5-per-acre credit to the insurance bills of cover crop farmers. In 2020, 70% of applicants were applying to grow cover crops for the first time in their career.
About 200 farmers signed up 50,000 acres for the program in 2019; 80,000 more acres applied for funding by the Jan. 15 deadline in 2020 but didn’t receive it. Illinois offers the rebate on a first-come, first-served basis. It was spoken for within days of opening for the first round of applications in December 2019.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed budget for 2021 doubled that funding, but the change didn’t make it to the final version of the bill he signed into law.
Eligible applicants receive a $5-per-acre premium discount on the following year’s crop insurance invoice for every acre of cover crop they enroll and verify in the program.
The program is only applicable for those with coverage through the USDA Risk Management Agency crop insurance program. Confirmed applications will be forwarded to USDA-RMA for processing and applying premium discounts to 2021 crop insurance invoices.
Applications are available at this Illinois Department of Agriculture webpage. Applicants will need their current FSA-578 and federal crop insurance policy number.