A multitude of factors keep farmers from adopting conservation practices, such as cover crops. Two Iowa-based companies are calling on Midwest landowners to help with the implementation of environmentally-friendly practices.
AUDIO: Steve Bruere, Peoples Company
Peoples Company and Stine Seed have partnered together to offer landowners a paid-in-full, managed cover crop program. Peoples Company president Steve Bruere says the program emphasizes a landowners role on the farm.
“We’re interested in helping educate landowners about the benefits of cover crops, in terms of improving soil health and water quality,” Bruere said. “All too often we think the farmer needs to cover the cost of cover crops, when in fact, a lot of the long-term economic benefits of cover crops benefit the landowner through improved soil health and water quality, and ultimately increased yields.”
The program, called the Sustainability Cover Crop Initiative, will be available to Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri landowners for the 2019 growing season. Landowners must agree to have their land professionally managed by Peoples Company and commit to planting Stine Seed for a three-year term to receive cover crops paid-in-full.
Bruere says both companies bring certain areas of expertise to the partnership. Peoples Company will offer expert advice to landowners during the cover crop seed selection and application process. Stine Seed will offer its top-performing genetics.
“What started this conversation is their high population corn and the fact that you can put your highly productive acres into the high population and produce higher yields,” Bruere said. “We started to think through this in the context of – maximizing your productive acres while you protect your environmentally sensitive acres.”
The cost of cover crop application will be covered up to $30/acre, with a minimum of 120 acres and a maximum of 500 acres. Bruere says the program will cover up to a maximum of 10,000 acres, covering only a portion of farmland rented in Iowa.
“There’s about 30,000,000 crop acre in Iowa. About 60-percent of all the land in Iowa is rented,” Bruere said. “Anybody who is an absentee landowner that wants to hire us to manage their farm would be eligible. So, about 60-percent of 30,000,000 acres. That’s obviously much higher than our acre cap of 10,000.”
More information about the Sustainability Cover Crop Initiative can be found at www.CoverCropProgram.com.