Conservation Corner: Cover Crop Edition
Corn farmers have a lot of opportunities to gain expertise and minimize financial risk when they try cover crops in 2021.
Farmers that planted a cover crop in the fall of 2020 and terminated it prior to your 2021 cash crop or seeded a cover crop on 2021 prevent plant acres may be eligible for a $5 per acre reduction on their crop insurance premium from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The deadline to file a 578 form with the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to gain access to this premium credit is June 15! For more information on what is needed to apply, click here, and be sure to call a local FSA office because additional information may be required.
Farmers that applied and were accepted in the Illinois Farm Covers for Spring Savings program should be automatically included in the USDA program. There is no limit to the number of acres available for the USDA program, and farmers are still eligible for the USDA program even if they are receiving other forms of cost share from state, federal, or private sources, including ecosystems market programs. Although is it not required, farmers should also make their crop insurance agent aware of application to the USDA program to ensure reported acres match. The USDA website with more information is available here.
Farmers in Lee, Ogle, or Whiteside counties have even more opportunity with a reduced cover crop seed rate. Through a partnership with IL Corn and GROWMARK, farmers in these counties can access 40 acres of winter terminal cover crop mix at a discount. Cover crops are one of the best solutions to improve soil health, reduce risk, and limit nutrient loss. Visit https://ilcorn.org/covercropsprogram for more information. Space is limited to the first 100 growers and sign up ends June 25.
The 2021 Fall Covers for Spring Savings program builds on previous success and this year has received funding for 100,000 acres. This doubles the size of the program from the past two years because farmer demand far exceeded acre availability. IL Corn will share the details for the 2021 FCSS program when they become available.