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Fall Covers for Spring Savings: Cover Crop Premium Discount Program by Illinois Dept. of Ag

American Farmland Trust is leading a coalition of partners in Illinois to offer a Fall Covers for Spring Savings Cover Crop Premium Discount program to all Illinois farmers

This is an Illinois Department of Agriculture program. Sign-up for this year’s program begins at 8AM on December 15th, 2021 and is open until January 15, 2022. All interested applicants can find more information and apply at:


This Fall Covers for Spring Savings program, or FCSS, is eligble to farmers who are planting cover crops on acres installed outside of state and federal program incentives (e.g., EQIP, CSP and state cost share). Eligible applicants receive a $5/acre insurance premium discount on the following year’s crop insurance invoice for every acre of cover crop enrolled and accepted in the program.

AFT and partners successfully advocated for the FCSS program to be doubled from the original funding to $600,000, or 100,000 acres, into the IDOA budget for crop year 2022.

Who has successfully enrolled?

Frank Rademacher farms with his father and grandfather on over 500 acres in Illinois. Frank first heard about the program through a conservation group called Practical Farmers of Iowa, and he was able to successfully enroll roughly 400 acres into the 2021 FCSS program.

Read Frank's Story
You’ve done the work… now get rewarded!



Cover crops are a tremendously important practice for improving soil health and reducing nitrogen and phosphorus pollution to waterways. Illinois has taken an important step toward meeting its nutrient loss reduction goals by funding the Fall Covers for Spring Savings Program in the Illinois budget. The Illinois Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy (NLRS) recognizes cover crops as one of the most effective in-field management strategies to stem the loss of both nitrate-nitrogen and total phosphorus from corn-soybean fields, yet less than 6% of Illinois’ cropland is planted to cover crops annually. Meeting the water quality goals of the Illinois NLRS will require 35% to 75% of Illinois’ cropland be protected by cover crops, depending on the suite of conservation practices implemented.

More than 500 farmers applied in 2020, and over 750 applied in 2021, demonstrating the increasing popularity of the FCSS program. In addition to the state incentive, 600,000 FSA certified cover crop acres were eligible for an additional crop insurance discount. This acreage received an additional $5/acre through the USDA Pandemic Relief Program.