Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig reminds farmers who planted fall cover crops that the deadline to sign up for a $5 per acre reduction on their 2020 crop insurance premiums is quickly approaching. The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will accept applications until Jan. 15, 2020.
“We are really excited about this cover crop incentive program,” Naig said. “We have seen some tremendous response and interest from our farmers. This is really an example of an innovative approach to try to get cover crops on more acres. We are now at more than 1 million acres of cover crops in the state of Iowa. We have a long way to go, but we have really accelerated the rate of adoption across the state.”
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 prevent plant payments in 2019 are still eligible for the discounted insurance premiums.
Cover crops are one of the key practices the Iowa Department of Agriculture is implementing in terms of Iowa’s nutrient reduction strategy.
“It reduces the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus lost from an acre by about 30 percent, so it is a very effective practice,” Naig said. “We like that from a nutrient-loss standpoint. The great news about cover crops is that they also have these additional benefits that can help folks reduce input costs through weed control. It can give our livestock producers the opportunity to feed and hay and graze those cover crops as well. There are a lot of economic benefits.”
The insurance premium reductions will be available for fall-planted cover crops with a spring-planted cash crop. 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 agents to maintain eligibility.
This is a joint, three-year demonstration project administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) 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.
Farmers are encouraged to visit their local USDA service center offices to learn about other funding available to support the implementation of conservation practices.
For specific information regarding cover crop sign up, contact Nicky Gubbels at [email protected] or call (515) 281-5851.