A popular crop insurance discount is returning to Iowa in 2022, offering farmers $5 off spring crop insurance premiums for acres planted with cover crops. This is the fifth year of the program.

Farmers can sign up now through Jan. 14 for the cover crop insurance premium reduction program at apply.cleanwateriowa.org. To qualify, the cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or federal cost share programs.

“Farmers and landowners are investing in conservation practices, like cover crops, to enrich soil health and water quality,” said Iowa Agriculture Secretary Mike Naig in a media release last week. “The cover crop insurance discount program is an effective way to get even more cover crops planted across the state. I encourage more Iowa farmers and landowners to incorporate cover crops into their operations and take advantage of this program.”

According to the Iowa Department of Agriculture (IDALS), which administers the program with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, interest in the program continues to grow and new farmers and fields join each year. To date, about 1,700 farmers have enrolled nearly 700,000 acres of cover crops in the program. 

IDALS said cover crops help improve soil health, prevent soil erosion and lock in nutrients, especially during extreme weather events. Cover crops are proven to reduce nitrogen loads by 28% to 31% and phosphorous loads by 29%, which helps improve water quality. They also offer weed control and livestock grazing benefits for producers.

Some insurance policies may be excluded, like Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, or those covered through written agreements. Participants must follow all existing farming practices required by their policy and work with their insurance agencies to maintain eligibility.