IL Dept. of Ag Offers ‘Cover Crop’ Program to Help Farmers Retain Land Value & Reduce Soil Erosion

State Rep. Darren Bailey announced today that the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) is accepting applications for their ‘cover crop premium discount’ program. Qualified farmers are encouraged to learn about this opportunity and apply.

“Our farmers are constantly challenged by losing fertile soil from heavy rains and flooding and having to invest more in either replacing the top soil or adding more fertilizer,” said Rep. Bailey. “The problem of ‘agricultural runoff’ diminishes the value of farmland, and degrades the quality of our rivers for fishing.”

One way to cut down on Illinois field soil erosion is by encouraging the planting of winter cover crops, which can grow roots that stabilize the soil in the field.  Some cover crops also bring some nitrogen-fixing abilities to their fields as part of their ability to nourish the soil in other ways.   

The IDOA’s fall cover crop discount program is for acreage in Illinois planted to cover crops in the fall of 2019 that will be planted to an insurable crop in 2020. The program will allow eligible applicants to receive a $5 per acre premium discount on the following year’s crop insurance invoice for every acre of cover crop enrolled and verified in the program.

The discount program was designed to promote additional acres of cover crops that are not covered by other state or federal incentives. IDOA will use a combination of tools to verify acres applied for through this pilot program are planted in cover crops. The program is only applicable for those with coverage through the United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency (USDA-RMA) crop insurance program. Confirmed applications will be forwarded to the USDA-RMA for processing and applying premium discounts to 2020 crop insurance invoices.

Applications are available online by clicking here. Funding of eligible acreage will be on a first come, first serve basis capped at 50,000 acres. It is recommended that those applying for the program reference their Federal FSA-578 form. The closing date to apply for the premium discount is January 15, 2020. Further information can be obtained by contacting the IDOA at (217) 782-6297.