Farmers Using Cover Crops Can Sign Up Now for Reduction In Crop Insurance Premiums

In addition to reducing nutrient loss, cover crops can provide long-term value to farmers

DES MOINES – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced that farmers who are using cover crops and not receiving state or federal cost share can sign up for a $5 per acre premium reduction on their crop insurance. A new online application process is available to make it easier for farmers to sign up for the program.

“As we have seen cover crop acres increase significantly in recent years, we are also getting more data on the long-term value of cover crops to farmers. This incentive program is a tool to help farmers scale up acres of cover crops and get even more comfortable with how this practice fits on their farm,” Naig said.

Farmers can sign up for the program now at Farmers who participate will receive the reduction on their crop insurance in 2019. Farmers are encouraged to sign up after their cover crop seeding has been completed.

Applications will be taken until Jan. 15, 2019. Cover crop acres currently enrolled in state and/or federal programs are not eligible for this program. The premium reduction will be available for fall-planted cover crops with a spring-planted cash crop.

Iowa cover crop acres have grown to an estimated 760,000 acres planted in 2017, a 22 percent increase from 2016. More than 700 farmers participated in the crop insurance incentive program in 2017, using cover crops on nearly 170,000 acres.

“The extremely wet weather this fall has made it a challenge to get crops harvested and cover crops seeded. The deadline to seed cover crops and still participate in state and federal cost share programs has recently been extended, so there is still time for farmers to get cover crops planted and participate in this program,” Naig said.

As cover crop acreage has increased, additional research has examined the economic costs and benefits of cover crops for farmers. Iowa State University’s Ag Decision Maker website has a new decision-making tool that can help crop and livestock farmers assess the value of cover crops on their farm. The free tool, “Economics of Cover Crops,” consists of three in-depth budgeting worksheets designed to help farmers analyze the costs and benefits of cover crops and paths to profitability in their row crop operations with or without the integration of livestock.

The online worksheets were created with funding by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Water Quality Initiative and can be found at


Will Myers