Source: USDA news release

INDIANAPOLIS –The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, The Nature Conservancy and the United State Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency have joined forces to implement the Cover Crop Premium Discount Program for the fourth year in a row.

This program will reward farmers who plant cover crops by providing a reduced premium on their crop insurance. The discount program was designed to promote planting additional acres of cover crops that are not covered by other state or federal incentives. This program is eligible for 26 out of the 92 counties in Indiana.

“Cover crops are unmatched in the benefits they provide to soil structure, providing nutrients and needed ground cover to ensure vitality,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “Implementing cover crops, however, can be expensive. So, I am excited this program will once again give farmers an opportunity to increase their cover cropped acreage, which will improve water quality and enhance the fertile soil in our state.”

Over the last year, this program has had great success with 117 farmers participating, translating to more than 35,000 acres of cover crops on Indiana farmland in the watershed.

This program will provide farmers with a unique opportunity to receive financial incentives for implementing cover crops on their operation. Farmers who plant cover crops on owned or rented acres will receive a $5 per acre crop insurance premium discount. Farmers who planted cover crops in the fall of 2023 are eligible to apply.

Qualifying counties in the project area include Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, Decatur, Floyd, Greene, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Ohio, Orange, Randolph, Ripley, Scott, Shelby, Switzerland and Washington

Cover cropping has many benefits including increased organic matter, improved soil biology as well as better water infiltration and water-holding capacity. This practice also prevents nutrients and sediment from running off the farm, keeping them out of nearby waterbodies and streams. Hoosier farmers planted 1.6 million acres of living covers in 2022 and, apart from corn and soybeans, are planted on more acres than any other commodity crop in Indiana.

Larry Clemens, the Indiana State Director of The Nature Conservancy shared, “the continuation of this program for a fourth year is a direct result of the Indiana Legislature’s increased investment in the Clean Water Indiana program, which supports conservation efforts across the state.” Clemens continued, “in partnership with ISDA, USDA, members of the Indiana Agriculture Nutrient Alliance, and Washington County Soil and Water Conservation District, The Nature Conservancy received a Clean Water Indiana grant to expand the Cover Crop Premium Discount Program and is excited to again provide this offering to Hoosier farmers to assist in keeping Indiana at the forefront of soil health adoption.”

ISDA Director Don Lamb is a second-generation farmer in Boone County.

“Being a farmer who plants cover crops myself, I know how challenging it is. Both in terms of upfront cost and the extra time related to implementing them,” said Lamb. “This is a tremendous program for Hoosier farmers looking for another incentive to plant cover crops, and I am so grateful this program is open to more counties, and more farmers, than ever before.”

Seeding of cover crops must follow best agronomic practices in terms of appropriate seeding rates, seed mixes and seeding dates to ensure objectives of the cover crop are being met. To ensure the practice provides the best results termination must be completed in the spring.

Funding for this program is provided by a Clean Water Indiana grant and the Cummins Foundation, . The Cummins foundation is supporting The Nature Conservancy to improve water quality across Indiana and the Mississippi River Basin.

Applications are due March 15, 2024 or when available funds are exhausted. Learn more and visit


The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) reports to Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. Major responsibilities include advocacy for Indiana agriculture at the local, state and federal level, managing soil conservation programs, promoting economic development and agricultural innovation, serving as a regulatory ombudsman for agricultural businesses, and licensing grain firms throughout the state.


The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. To learn more about its work in Indiana, visit, find @TNCIndiana on Facebook or follow @Nature_Indiana on Twitter.