Crop insurance is an integral part of the farm safety net that provides financial protection for farmers after bad weather impacts their crops. Cover crops can provide many benefits which include helping to prevent erosion, improving water quality and making soils more resilient to weather and climate impacts.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) and partners throughout the state have worked with the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) to establish an initiative in the West Fork Upper White River watershed counties to increase cover crop usage in Indiana. Our focus for this program is to target first time cover crop users in an effort to expand awareness and the adoption of cover crops as a tool to improve farm resiliency.
This project will provide eligible participants with a $5/acre premium discount on the following year's crop insurance invoice for every acre of cover crop enrolled and verified in the program. Funding will be provided through RMA as an additional insurance premium discount through normal crop insurance processes. Only acres in cover crops (absent other state or federally incentivized cover crops) will be eligible for the premium discount. Confirmed applications will be forwarded to the USDA-RMA for processing premium discounts on crop insurance premium invoices for the 2021 cash crop. Applicants must certify that by signing up for this program, they give ISDA permission to share the information provided to the USDA-RMA for administering the benefit to the beneficiary as documented on the application. Applicants also convey permission to ISDA or SWCD representative(s) access to the property enrolled, if necessary, to verify cover crop establishment ISDA will verify applications and respective acreage. There will be a 500-acre cap for each grower that enrolls. Being a first-time cover crop user is not a requirement but will be given priority for funding. ISDA may contact applicants for additional clarifying information.
Applicants must maintain documentation on cover crops that have been seeded (e.g. Seed Tags, Application Invoices) and utilize the Midwest Cover Crop Council - Cover Crop Tool or the NRCS Field Office Technical Guide recommendations. This includes seeding dates, appropriate seeding rates and seed mixes to ensure objectives of the cover crop are being met. A cover crop is considered: "a non-grain harvestable, non-insurable conservation/agronomic practice seeded in the fall to protect and improve soil and water quality." To ensure the practice achieves the desired results, no full width tillage/termination of the cover crop in the fall is allowed. Management/termination of the cover crops must be done in the spring in accordance with the most recent version of the USDA-NRCS Cover Crop Termination Guidelines. This guidance not only informs proper management of cover crops but must also be followed to maintain eligibility for federal crop insurance.
- How to Apply
Application requirements include applicant contact information, acres of cover crops seeded, farm, tract, common land unit (CLU)/Field #, and legal description of fields/acres seeded to cover crops in fall 2020. This information can be found on individual participants federal "Report of Commodities" form (FSA-578). It is highly recommended to reference the FSA-578 form for those interested in applying for this program. Applicants must submit the FSA-578 with their application. The premium reduction will be applied based on the acreage report you file for federal crop insurance. Ensuring the field designations match is mandatory to receiving the premium discount.
Applications and FSA-578 forms should be sent to Annette Manusevich at firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2021.