With the 2022 cash crop harvest in the books, producers who planted cover crops may benefit from taking time to learn about special programs and insurance considerations in their area. To help, the Center for Rural Affairs has released a series of resources outlining cover crop initiatives, as well as guidelines for maintaining crop insurance when implementing this conservation practice.
Cover crop adoption has gained momentum, with a 50 percent increase in acres reported from 2012 to 2017. In addition, approximately one-third of acres planted to a cover crop received financial assistance to support implementation in 2018.
“Farmers across the Midwest are increasingly planting cover crops to control erosion and improve soil health,” said Kalee Olson, policy associate at the Center. “Financial assistance and information on how cover crops may affect crop insurance coverage are important tools for interested producers.”
Each guide in the series explains cover crop cost-share initiatives on federal, state and local levels, as well as those available through private organizations. Among these recommendations are the Conservation Stewardship Program and Environmental Quality Incentives Program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.
In addition to cost-share incentives, the guides provide an overview of crop insurance premium discounts, such as the USDA’s Pandemic Cover Crop Program and state-based opportunities. The resources also include information on cover crop termination and reporting guidelines to ensure farmers remain compliant with crop insurance regulations.
“It’s important that a strong connection exists between crop insurance and conservation, so that farmers can invest in our natural resources without fear of losing an important federal safety net,” Olson said.