On May 25, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation announced $2.6 million in grants to help farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, and Minnesota. These grants, funded by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, will allow farmers to plant 500,000 acres of cover crops.
According to a 2021 USDA report, use of cover crops is on the rise, increasing from 10.3 million acres in 2012 to 15.4 million acres in 2017, which amounts to 5.1 percent of US cropland. Grant recipients include American Farmland Trust, Ducks Unlimited, Practical Farmers of Iowa, the Minnesota Soil Health Coalition, and the Kansas Association of Conservation Districts.
Each recipient will provide technical and financial assistance to the farmers, primarily through enrollment in public and private programs that cover costs and mitigate the financial risks of adopting cover crops.