Lawmakers continue to push for a cover crop incentive bill despite a proposed $25-per-acre incentive failing to survive the latest climate law. Representatives Sean Casten (D-IL) and Cindy Axney (D-IA) have introduced the Conservation Opportunity and Voluntary Environment Resilience Program (COVER) Act which offers farmers a $5-per-acre discount on crop insurance premiums. The program is modeled after state incentives in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa as well as a trial program from the Biden administration offered in 2021 and 2022 for farmers with crop insurance. The COVER Act has bi-partisan support from major farm groups and conservation organizations.

But with a new Farm Bill on the horizon, many conversations have yet to take place on the COVER Act’s potential inclusion in the bill. The current $5 incentive program – the Pandemic Cover Crop Program – was created by USDA and enrolled more than 12.2 million acres costing a total of nearly $60 million. Casten and Axne’s version of that incentive would create the “Good Steward Cover Crop Program” – a fully voluntary program that would not be a requirement.

Read more on the COVER Act here.