Cover Crop - Crop Insurance Demonstration Project

By Sara Berges, Allamakee SWCD

Many of you have heard that you can receive a $5 per acre discount on your crop insurance premium for cover crops. There is a lot of confusion about how to apply for it and who is in charge of the program. The program is offered by the Iowa Department of Agriculture (IDALS) for acres of cover crops that were planted in 2017 without state or federal program incentives (WQI, state cost share, EQIP, CSP, etc.). The sign-up is available online at There is no paper form available at the Allamakee SWCD/NRCS office. The sign-up deadline is January 15, 2018.

The minimum information needed to sign-up online includes your contact information as well as the common land unit (field) numbers, acres and legal description for all of the ground seeded to cover crops. Much of this information can be found on the “Report of Commodities” form (FSA-578). There is no acre limit for applications and they will be processed on a first come, first serve basis. It is not a requirement for this year’s program to certify your cover crop acres to FSA, but it is definitely encouraged. The deadline to certify forage and fall-seeded small grains was December 15. If you did not yet certify, you still can but will incur a penalty. The Allamakee SWCD appreciates all of you who have certified your cover crop acres. This data will help us to get a better understanding of the total acres of cover crops seeded in the county.

If you received cost share on some of your cover crop acres, you are still eligible to apply on additional acres for which you did not receive cost share. IDALS will review applications for overlap in enrollment of cover crops in other programs. You may be required to provide documentation (seed bills, seed tags, seeding dates etc.) to confirm that fields applied for were actually seeded to cover crops.  The seeding rates and dates must meet NRCS specifications to be eligible.  You may hay or graze the cover crop as long as this management does not jeopardize the intended function of the cover crop, however you cannot harvest the cover crop for grain.

If you need help applying for the program, contact or (515) 281-5851.