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Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative 2022 Results and 2023 New Collaboration

Contact:  Erica Lydolph, Project Coordinator, 641-799-8638, covercropsatagribizdotorg  (covercropsatagribizdotorg)  

DES MOINES – In 2022, over $589,000 in financial assistance was provided to farmers and landowners through the Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative for cost share associated with cover crop conservation practices through the Water Quality Initiative (WQI).  The Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crop Initiative is a project developed by the Iowa Seed Association in partnership with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and Iowa Corn.  Seed corn growers continue to show increased interest in the adoption of cover crops on acres used for seed corn production.  Nearly 200 seed corn growers signed up for funding in 2022, covering over 41,000 acres, saving almost 125,000 tons of soil, and spending an estimated $1.6 million of their own money to implement cover crops. 

Partnerships with eight seed companies, representing the vast majority of seed corn production in Iowa, provide cost share, technical assistance, outreach, and education dedicated to seed corn growers.  Funding incentives available to seed corn growers are $15 per acre for winter-hardy and $10 per acre for winter-kill cover crops.  An additional $5 per acre incentive is available for first-time cover crop users.  In 2022, sixteen new users established cover crops through the Initiative. Applications are being accepted at for planting cover crops this fall.

For 2023, the Iowa Seed Association approved a new collaboration with Heartland Cooperative for dedicated outreach and technical assistance for edge-of-field water quality practices that are permanent and not invasive to field operations.  By connecting seed corn growers with technical and cost share information on these practices, increased knowledge of these practices can facilitate accelerated implementation.    

The Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crops Initiative focuses on ways to help increase adoption of cover crops specifically within the seed corn production system in Iowa. The focus on seed corn is driven by the unique opportunity that seed corn provides due to the earlier harvest, thereby providing better timing opportunities for establishing cover crops in the late summer and fall after harvest. Cost share applications for planting cover crops on seed corn acres this coming fall are being accepted. Visit for more information.