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

We’ve detected that you are using an outdated browser.

Please use a new browser like Chrome, Firefox, Safari or Microsoft Edge to improve your experience.

We’ve detected that you are using an outdated browser.

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 Illinois re:generations program encourages farmers to incorporate environmentally friendly practices into their operations while offering financial incentives for doing so. Enrollment begins in June. 

The re:generations program is an expanded version of the 2022 Illinois Cover Crop Initiative and offers flexible contracts to farmers who are willing to adopt cover crops 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 acres where practices have previously been used and choose from 1, 2, 3, or 4-year contracts. 

In 2022 AFT and ADM launched the program with an initial goal of enrolling 75,000 cover crop acres. Nearly 300 farmers signed up, representing 112,414 cover crop acres. ADM and AFT enrolled an additional 278,696 acres in emissions scoring. Collectively these two initiatives generated $2M in incentives for Illinois farmers.   

Paul Scheetz, Director of Climate Smart Ag Origination with ADM states, “Our regenerative and Climate-Smart ag programs provide financial and technical support to producers that create positive environmental impacts to food, feed, and fuel ingredients created by ADM. By using cover crops and reduced tillage, Illinois farmers can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve water quality, soil health, and biodiversity. Partnering with American Farmland Trust has been an asset to the program. Their coordination efforts and their ability to provide technical support to our participants has been crucial in helping farmers implement conservation practices on their farms. We look forward to engaging with more farmers in 2023.” 

Torey Colburn, Midwest Conservation Agronomist with American Farmland Trust, shared, “Using cover crops coupled with sound agronomic management brings a lot of soil health and environmental benefits to the table. Cover crops can suppress weeds, improve soil structure, scavenge nutrients, increase soil water-holding capacity, and reduce soil erosion just to name a few. Cost-share incentive programs like ADM re:generations reward farmers who have adopted cover crops into their management systems and encourage adoption among farmers who have not. The agronomic and environmental benefits are tangible and can have a tremendously positive impact on the health and productivity of our soils while protecting the quality of our air and water resources. Over time, good cover crop management can help farmers improve their soils and reduce their input costs thereby increasing their profitability.” 

In 2023, farmers throughout the state are eligible to enroll for the cover crop incentive, and farmers delivering corn and beans to an ADM elevator can qualify for emissions scoring payments. ADM’s re:generations program offers a streamlined enrollment process, making it easy for farmers to participate. 

Enrollment for the 2023 program of ADM re:generations launches in June. More information is available at or by emailing   


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.  


About the Author
Torey Colburn

Midwest Conservation Agronomist

Read Bio