Home Interviews Iowa cover crop acres increase 22 percent

Iowa cover crop acres increase 22 percent

by Ben Nuelle Money Matters 8-17-16

Iowa farmers planted about 64,000 more cover crop acres funded through state and federal incentives in the fall of 2015 compared to fall 2014.

That is a 22 percent increase. Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey says 1,920 Iowa farmers have signed up this year to be a part of a water quality initiative program.

“Nine hundred of these farmers are brand new to this initiative. They are first time users of these practices. We have 1,000 farmers that are doing a practice again. We’re providing cost share for some of that as well. Many of that is around cover crops. That means $3.8 million is matched by nearly $6 million of farmer money to be able to get these practices on the ground.”

Iowans planted 291,267 cover crop acres last fall compared to 227,256 in 2014. Northey says this is the fourth year of the Water Quality Initiative.

“The previous three years, we have had 3,400 applicants that have been a part of that. We had 2,500 of those doing a practice for the very first time. $7.7 million dollars’ worth of state dollars have gone into that. Again, matched by well-over that amount in private funding that those farmers have brought to the table.”

Northey says even in challenging economic times in agriculture, farmers are seeing the benefits cover crops provide.

For more information about cover crops and other practices and programs to help address natural resource concerns on your land, visit your local USDA Service Center for planning assistance.