Illinois Cover Crop Initiative Open for Applicants in Illinois - American Farmland Trust

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 Illinois Cover Crop Initiative Open for Applicants in Illinois

(Springfield, Il) – In partnership with ADM and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Farmers Business Network, American Farmland Trust begins taking applications Wednesday, July 13th for the Illinois Cover Crop Initiative (ICCI) program in Illinois.

ICCI incentives will be available to an estimated 400 farmers enrolling up to a total of 75,000 acres, including acres that have previously been planted to cover crops. Applicants have the option of 1–4-year contracts and will be required to follow NRCS standards and specifications for managing cover crops.  AFT will work closely with farmers to complete contract paperwork, lessening the time burden. Incentives include $10 per acre annually supported by technical assistance provided in collaboration with farmers’ trusted retail partners and conservation organizations. Acres cannot be enrolled in another privately funded ecosystem market program but may be stacked with federal and state cost-share programs.

As a part of the program, AFT will quantify economic and environmental benefits to be shared with farmers, ADM, NRCS, NFWF and FBN to further cover crop adoption into the future. In additional, technical assistance will be available to anyone interested in cover crops, regardless of program participation.

Information on the program and the application portal can be found here. For additional questions, please email AFT at

Contract awards will be made on a first come, first serve basis until contracted acres reach 75,000. The application period will close on December 31, 2022, although we encourage applications be submitted before the end of August.

The AFT Illinois program is part of a $2.6 million grant announced on May 24th, 2022 by ADM, NRCS, NFWF and FBN to accelerate adoption of cover crops in six Midwestern states. Other recipients include Ducks Unlimited, Kansas Association of Conservation Districts, Minnesota Soil Health Coalition, and Practical Farmers of Iowa.

“This program will provide farmers with technical assistance, education and financial incentives to meet the demands of the growing interest in cover crops,” said Kris Reynolds, AFT Midwest region director. “It also offers farmers the opportunity to stack incentives with additional public programs, accelerating the adoption of cover crops in Illinois.”


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 6.8 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and supported thousands of farm families. 

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