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Jan. 15 Deadline for Iowa Farmers in Cover Crop-Crop Insurance Project

In its second year, cover crop adopters can get a $5-per-acre crop insurance premium reduction.

Iowa farmers have until Jan. 15 to apply for a $5-per-acre reduction in crop insurance, if they planted cover crops last fall.

This is the second year for the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship Cover Crop- rop Insurance Demonstration Project, which “…can be an important tool to help farmers as they increase cover crop acres beyond what might be eligible for other state and federal programs,” said Mike Naig, Iowa secretary of agriculture, in a statement.

Last year, more than 700 farmers participated in the program’s first year, using cover crops on nearly 170,000 acres. “We continue to see interest in cover crops growing across the state,” he added.  

New for 2019, growers can use an online application process to make it as easy as possible for farmers to sign up and participate in the program.

Farmers and landowners can sign up online to certify eligible land for the program at Cover crop acres currently enrolled in state or federal programs are not eligible for this program.

Other rules include:

  • The new premium reduction will be available for fall-planted cover crops with a spring-planted cash crop. Some policies may be excluded, such as Whole-Farm Revenue Protection or those covered through written agreements. Participating farmers must follow all existing good farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agent to maintain eligibility.
  • Minimum information needed for sign-up is contained in the online application form, but includes: applicant contact information, acres of cover crops seeded, farm, tract, common land unit (CLU)/field #, and legal description of fields/acres seeded to cover crops in fall 2018, etc. This information can be found on individual participants’ “Report of Commodities” form (FSA-578). It is highly recommended to reference the FSA-578 form for those interested in applying for this program.
  • Seeding of cover crops must follow best agronomic practices in terms of seeding dates, appropriate seeding rates, seed mixes, seeding dates, and also ensure objectives of the cover crop are being met. Utilize NRCS Iowa Agronomic Technical Note #38: Cover Crop Management and Technical Note #36 Interseeding of cover crops as guides. 
  • Applications received by January 15 will be collected and assessed for eligibility of this program. Applications must be completed in full to remain eligible. IDALS may contact prospective applicants for additional clarifying information. Applicants must maintain documentation cover crops have been seeded (seed bills, etc.) and utilize Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) seeding recommendations as a guide. Iowa NRCS Agronomy Technical Notes # 36 and 38 are good resources for seeding recommendations and management of cover crops.
  • IDALS will verify acres based on applications received and acres requested. Only acres in cover crops (absent other state/fed incentivized cover crops) will be eligible for the additional $5-an-acre premium reduction. Confirmed applications will be forwarded to RMA for processing incentive on crop insurance premium invoice for 2019 crop.
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The Iowa Department of Agriculture worked with the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), who oversees the federal crop insurance program, to establish the three-year demonstration project aimed at expanding the usage of cover crops in Iowa. 

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