Program Pays Illinois Farmers to Improve Soil Health - American Farmland Trust

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Program Pays Illinois Farmers to Improve Soil Health

Farmers Can Reduce Emissions While Increasing Farm Profitability

Decatur, Illinois – American Farmland Trust and ADM are launching the next season of a program that supports Illinois’s farmers and the environment. The ADM re:generations™ program in Illinois encourages farmers to incorporate regenerative agriculture practices into their operations while offering financial incentives for doing so. Enrollment began in May.

The ADM re:generations™ program continues to offer flexible contracts to farmers who are willing to adopt cover crops, no-till, and/or provide data to calculate carbon intensity scores. The program provides payments to farmers who enroll in the program, and carbon assets generated from participation are being claimed by ADM. Farmers can enroll new practice acres, as well as previous practice acres.

In 2023 AFT and ADM had a very successful year, surpassing their enrollment goal of 225,000 acres enrolled in cover crops throughout the state.  ADM and AFT also enrolled 630,000 acres in emissions scoring.

Paul Scheetz, Director of Climate Smart Ag Origination with ADM states, “Farmers have always been stewards of the land, and they understand that regenerative agriculture is a way of building their success and securing their legacies for their families and their future. As we expand our efforts, we’re seeing how our approach to working with farmers – including financial incentives for both practices and outcomes, and technical assistance that caters to their farm’s specific needs – is creating momentum for more and more acres being adopted every year. American Farmland Trust has been a true partner in these efforts, and we’re excited to continue to work together to help Illinois farmers reap the rewards of practices to improve soil health, biodiversity, water quality and air quality while ensuring the viability of farm production for future generations.”

Torey Colburn, Midwest Conservation Agronomist with American Farmland Trust, shared, “Using cover crops as a fundamental tool in a soil health management system offers a wide variety of agronomic and environmental benefits. Cover crops can suppress weeds, improve soil structure, scavenge nutrients, increase water infiltration and retention, and reduce erosion. The ADM re:generations™ program incentivizes cover crop adoption among farmers with the goals of making improvements in soil health, reducing input costs, and increasing farm profitability while protecting air and water quality both locally and downstream.”

In 2024, farmers throughout the state are eligible to enroll for the cover crop and wheat incentives, and farmers delivering corn and beans to a qualifying ADM elevator can enroll in emissions scoring for per bushel premiums.

The ADM’s re:generations™ program has continued to streamline its enrollment process, making it even easier for farmers to participate.

Enrollment for the 2024 ADM re: generations™ program is now open. More information is available at or by emailing Torey Colburn at


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

About the Author
Torey Colburn

Midwest Conservation Agronomist

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