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Insurance discount program for cover crops continues in Iowa

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship will again offer its crop insurance discount program for cover crops this year. The program offers farmers and landowners who plant fall cover crops, such as rye and oats, the opportunity to apply for a $5 per acre discount on their spring crop insurance premiums. The sign up for the program will begin on Dec. 1, 2022.

“The growth in cover crop usage is strong and continues to accelerate statewide because farmers are seeing the benefits of better soil health and improved water quality, and this discount will save them money on their crop insurance,” said Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig. “Every field and farm is different, so farmers and landowners should talk to their agronomist, conservation professional, or seed representative to determine which varieties of cover crops may work best for their farm.”

“The benefits of cover crops are very evident here in Iowa,” said Kelsey Willardson, policy associate for the Center for Rural Affairs. “The program is helping producers adopt and continue cover crop use, and improving agricultural soils in the process.”

Farmers and landowners may start enrolling in the cover crop insurance discount program in December. To qualify, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) cost share programs. More information about the cover crop insurance discount program is available at

In addition to preventing soil erosion — especially with Iowa’s variable weather conditions — cover crops improve water quality by locking in nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorous. They also offer weed control and additional forage for livestock producers.

Program Details

This is the sixth year the crop insurance discount program is being administered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA). Interest in the program continues to grow, with new farmers and fields joining each year. To date, approximately 1,800 farmers have enrolled nearly 1 million acres of cover crops in the program. Iowa’s program has also served as a model for other states, including Illinois and Indiana.

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. Farmers should visit their local USDA service center to learn about other cost share funding that may be available to support the implementation of conservation practices.

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