EAST LANSING, June 25, 2019 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering conservation assistance to Michigan farmers unable to plant crops due to wet conditions. The USDA is making conservation funds available for farmers to plant summer cover crops to help reduce soil erosion, control weeds and improve soil quality.
The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service has up to $3.9 million in financial assistance for Michigan farmers to plant cover crops with a payment rate of $37.66 an acre. Producers interested in planting a 2019 summer cover crop must submit an application at their local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office or online through Conservation Client Gateway by July 8, to be considered for funding.
The assistance is available to all eligible producers including farmers enrolled in federal crop insurance programs who will receive a prevented planting payment for not planting a crop during the 2019 growing season. Cover crop funding through this initiative is only available for planting cover crops during the 2019 growing season on fields where planting was prevented by wet conditions. Funding for cover crops already planted is not permissible unless the applicant has already applied for assistance and received a waiver. The waiver does not guarantee funding but allows the applicant to maintain eligibility.
Producers planting a summer cover crop will have a variety of cover crop options to choose from based on producer preferences and seed availability. Due to an anticipated shortage of livestock feed, NRCS is authorizing cover crop options that include forage crops including corn for corn silage. Summer cover crops will help improve water quality by controlling erosion and can benefit 2020 crops by reducing soil compaction, controlling weeds, and retaining nutrients in the soil.
Producers considering a cover crop on prevented planting fields should check with their crop insurance agent, USDA Risk Management Agency and Farm Service Agency, on restrictions for haying, grazing, and harvesting cover crops on prevented planting acres.