Secretary Naig announces increased cover crop cost-share incentives

by | May 8, 2024 | 5 Ag Stories, News

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig announced today that the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is offering increased cost-share incentives for cover crop planting through the state’s Water Quality Initiative (WQI). The popular annual cost-share program, which is available to eligible first-time users as well as returning participants, is now open for Iowa farmers to begin enrolling their acres.

Farmers who are planting cover crops for the first time are eligible for $30 per acre. Farmers who have already experienced the benefits of using cover crops and are returning participants can receive $20 per acre. These figures represent increases of $5 per acre from last year. Additionally, producers transitioning acres to no-till or strip-till are eligible for $10 per acre. New users can also receive $3 per acre for utilizing a nitrogen inhibitor when applying fall fertilizer. Cost share funding through this program is limited to 160 acres per participant.

“Planting season is a great time for farmers to be thinking about conservation and making plans for implementing additional practices on their farms. Recognizing that input costs are rising for farmers and to keep our statewide cover crop momentum building, we are offering both first-time cover crop users and returning participants a larger cost-share incentive this year,” said Secretary Naig. “Iowa has set conservation adoption and investment records each of the last two years, and we want to keep breaking these records year after year. I would invite all Iowa farmers and landowners to stop into their county USDA Service Center, visit with our friendly staff, get signed up for this program, and learn about other available conservation and water quality programs.”

Last year, over 3,300 farmers and landowners enrolled in this cost share program. More than 375,000 acres of cover crops, 12,600 acres of no-till/strip-till and 3,200 acres of nitrification inhibitors were enrolled in the program. The state invested approximately $6.3 million, which leveraged $12.6 million of private investment.

Funds will be made available in July, but farmers may start submitting applications immediately through their local Soil and Water Conservation District offices. Farmers are encouraged to visit with their Soil and Water Conservation District staff within their local USDA Service Center and to inquire about additional cost share funds and other available conservation programs.