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November 30th, 2020
“Fall Covers for Spring Savings Cover Crop Premium Discount Program” Sign-up Begins December 15, 2020

Offering up to a five-dollar discount in crop insurance cost per acre as a reward to Illinois farmers for the implementation of a fall cover crop on their land prior to a spring cash crop.

DEKALB, Ill. – Today, American Farmland Trust, the organization that for 40 years has been saving the land that sustains us, is sharing important news from the Illinois Department of Agriculture announcing the December 15th start of the Fall Cover for Spring Savings program sign-up period. Farmer’s using cover crops will be eligible for a $5/acre discount for acres planted to cover crops in the fall of 2020 that will be planted to an insurable crop in 2021. This program will help farmers meet the goals of the Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy by making progress to reduce the amount of phosphorus by 25% and nitrogen by 15% in Illinois waterways by 2025.

Starting December 15, 2020, interested farmer’s may sign-up on the IDOA website, or through their local Soil and Water Conservation District. This program is offered for acres of cover crops installed outside of state and federal program incentives (e.g., EQIP, CSP and state cost share), and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis on 50,000 acres across Illinois. This year applicants will be required to certify their cover crops through their local FSA office before applying. Applicants will also need their current FSA-578 and federal crop insurance policy number(s) for the 2021 application process.

Currently, cover crops are used on a limited number of acres, with National Agriculture Statistics Services estimates showing the use of covers on nearly 1,410,000 acres in 2019, or 6 percent of Illinois’ farmland. A voluntary survey is being conducted by the University of Illinois in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Agriculture and partner organizations to learn what experience, if any, farmers have with cover crops and whether farmer’s participated in the Illinois Fall Covers for Spring Savings program in 2020. Benefits include helping to learn about Illinois farmers’ use of cover crops and experience with the new Fall Covers for Spring Savings program. This will ultimately give insight into the success of the Fall Covers for Spring Savings program and what level of experience farmer’s have with cover crops.

“Crop insurance is an integral part of the farm safety net providing protection for farmers when adverse weather impacts their crop yields,” states Kris Reynolds, AFT Midwest director. “Cover crops are used to reduce nutrient losses, soil loss and runoff, and build organic matter, contributing to improved soil health. Over time, these improvements increase nutrient efficiency and crop yields, and make farms more resilient to extreme weather conditions. Farmers win with a reduction in insurance cost and the benefits of better management practices.”

The Fall Covers for Spring Savings 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 USDA-Risk Management Agency, or RMA, for processing premium discounts on crop insurance premium invoices for the crop.

Please direct any further questions related to this program to Kris Reynolds at kreynolds@farmland.org. Learn more about this program or enroll at: https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/agr/Resources/LandWater/Pages/Cover-Crops-Premium-Discount-Program.aspx

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American Farmland Trust is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms No Food message. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families.