Farmers interested in adopting vertical systems that improve soil health and farm profitability have access to a variety of technical and financial assistance.   


Crop Insurance Premium Discount. Illinois farmers using cover crops can apply for a $5/acre discount on 2021 crop insurance premiums.  Acres must not be enrolled in any other State of Federal cost-share program.  View this short video to learn more.  Sign up begins December 15, 2020.   


EQIP Cost-Share.  Financial assistance is available for farmers interested in reducing tillage, increasing the efficient use of nutrients, and adopting cover crops through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.  Apply through the local NRCS office by January 8, 2021. 


S.T.A.RSaving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources is a free tool developed by farmers and soil and water conservation professionals that evaluates land management practices Star ratings recognize farmers for their commitment to sustainability Complete 2020 field forms by February 1, 2021.   


Vermilion Headwaters Partnership. Farmers in the Vermilion Watershed are working together to improve water in their community.  More information about the Partnership is available on the project fact sheet and at   


Local farmers increase profits. Partial budget analysis of soil health practices adopted by two farmers in the Vermilion Watershed highlight the economic benefits of vertical farming systems. Learn how Ifft Yorkshires and Thorndyke Farms are using cover crops, strip-till, and nutrient management to increase farm profitability. If you’re interested in using the budget analysis as a predictive tool, contact Jean Brokish at 


Cover Crops Simplified. The Midwest Cover Crop Council has an extensive library of cover crop resources including a tool to help select cover crops for your farm, and “recipes” for implementing cover crops in your rotation, including Illinois-specific recommendations for oats-radish after soybeans going to corn and for cereal rye after corn going to soybeans.    


Field trials and On-Farm Data. Farmers interested in testing cover crops and obtaining yield and economic data are encouraged to join a network of growers under the Five-Year Transition Program led by Illinois Corn Growers Precision Conservation Management and the Soil Health Partnership. Contact Jim Isermann at