IDALS offers increased cover crop cost share for Iowa farmers

$5 per acre increase from 2023


(SBA) - Iowa farmers interested in planting cover crops this fall may be eligible to receive a higher cost share for their efforts. Applications are now open for an incentive offered through the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Water Quality Initiative.

Through the program, first-time cover crop users are eligible for $30 per acre, and returning cover crop users are eligible for $20 per acre. 

“With a $5 per acre increase from last year, we are thrilled to see this incentive continue,” said Cynthia Farmer, senior policy associate with the Center for Rural Affairs. “The program demonstrates Iowa’s leadership on conservation and water quality.”

In addition to cover crops, the program supports additional conservation practices that build soil health and improve water quality. Farmers implementing no-till or strip-till are eligible for $10 per acre, and first-time users of a nitrogen inhibitor with fall fertilizer application are eligible for $3 per acre. 

“As farmers plan for the upcoming season, this financial assistance will provide the necessary support for increased use of cover crops and other conservation practices in Iowa,” Farmer said.

The incentive is limited to 160 acres per participant and cannot be applied to acres enrolled in other state or USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) cost-share programs. However, the incentive may be combined with other climate-smart commodity programs administered by non-NRCS entities. 

Interested farmers should visit their local Soil and Water Conservation District office to apply. A list of offices can be found at