Costello: State adds 20,000 acres to cover crop program

Illinois Agriculture Director Jerry Costello II announced Wednesday the state added 20,000 acres to its 2023 cover crop incentive program, making 160,000 acres eligible statewide.

Costello told participants of the Conservation Cropping Seminar that the original acreage cap of 140,000 acres of the Fall Covers for Spring Savings Program was outstripped within five hours. The Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) closed online applications for the 2023 program on Jan. 15.

Costello thanked Brian Rennecker, head of IDOA’s Bureau of Land and Water Resources, and Michael Woods, manager of IDOA’s Natural Resources Division, for surfacing “unused federal dollars” from previous application periods and matching state funding to allow more acres into this year’s program.

The ag director reported applicants submitted 828 contracts for 182,688 acres, which exceeded the eligible enrollment.

Under the program, farmers enroll eligible acres covered by a Risk Management Agency (RMA) crop insurance program, seeded with a cover crop in fall 2022 and not covered by any other state or federal incentives. Participating farmers will receive a $5-per-acre premium discount on the 2023 crop insurance invoice for each enrolled and verified cover crop acre in the program.

Now entering a fourth year, the cover crop program has grown through the years from 50,000 to 100,000 acres to the 2023 original expansion of 140,000 acres, Costello noted. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency contributed dollars from the Hypoxia Task Force Fund, allowing another 40,000 acres to be enrolled.

IDOA will use a combination of tools to verify that enrolled acres were seeded in cover crops. Confirmed applications will be forwarded to the Risk Management Agency for processing and for application of premium discounts to 2023 crop insurance invoices.

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via d1536

January 18, 2023 at 06:18PM

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