Posted on 12/20/2018 at 12:53 PM by
Monthly Update From Ben Gleason, Iowa Corn Sustainable Programs Manager
During this season of giving, Congress has given us a Farm Bill! From Farm Doc Daily, here are some conservation-related items included in the bill:
- Cover crop termination is defined as a practice that historically and under reasonable circumstances results in termination. Cover crops are considered a good farming practice if terminated according to USDA guidelines or an agricultural expert, and termination should not impact the insurability of the crop.
- Funding for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) decreased while funding increased for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Agricultural Conservation Easement Program, and Regional Conservation Partnership Program.
- CSP is to focus assistance on soil health, conservation planning, cover crops, and grazing management, as well as simplify program application.
- EQIP funding dedicated to livestock is reduced to 50% (down from 60%) which will increase the amount of EQIP funds that go to row crop working lands conservation.
- The acreage cap for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) increases from the current 24 million acres to 27 million by 2023. Rental payments are limited to 85% of the average county rental rate for general sign-up and 90% for continuous practices. There are pilot projects for 30-year CRP contracts and 3 to 5-year contracts on up to 15% of a field.
A reminder that sign up is now open for farmers using cover crops to receive a $5 per acre premium reduction on next year’s crop insurance. There is no acreage limit, but those already receiving state or federal cost share are not eligible for acres covered by cost share. Any additional acres would be eligible. Sign up is online at www.cleanwateriowa.org/covercropdemo and the deadline is January 15, 2019.
Finally, Iowa State University is sponsoring a bunch of events in the upcoming months including the Crop Advantage Series and Soil Health Conference. Lots of great information at these events!
Farmer to Farmer: Pollinator habitat on vulnerable acres
Wayne Humphreys of Columbus Junction discusses his decision to enroll vulnerable acres into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to provide pollinator habitat.