Congress should listen to the 78% of farmers who are calling for crop insurance to support practices like cover crops and ensure the COVER Act is included in the upcoming Farm Bill.
National Wildlife Federation just released the results of a poll that surveyed 300 farmers about their thoughts on crop insurance incentives for farmers who use cover crops. Now, cover crops have long been one of our favorite topics at NRDC. We love them for their water quality-improving, climate-helping, resiliency-boosting superpowers. NWF’s data confirms what our conversations with farmers told us already —farmers love cover crops too! Not only that, farmers also love the programs that recognize the risk-reducing benefits of cover crops with cheaper crop insurance—just like safe drivers might get a break on their car insurance premiums.
In fact, support for these programs was overwhelming. Over three-fourths of farmers surveyed said that they support programs that give farmers who adopt conservation practices like cover crops a break on their crop insurance premiums. Over 80% of the potential cover crop adoptees surveyed said that a break on crop insurance premiums would make them more likely to plant cover crops.
NRDC is not surprised by these results. We’ve seen how state programs in Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Indiana, as well as the federal pilot program, have benefited farmers. We’ve heard about how farmers and researchers are innovating cover crop strategies for every region and climate. We’ve taken note when recent studies have demonstrated that planting cover crops can reduce the “prevented planting” crop losses associated with wet spring weather. We’ve seen the demand for the programs grow year after year, with some state programs filling up in less than 24 hours. And we’ve noticed how support for these programs has been overwhelmingly bipartisan at the state level.
We’re not surprised. But we are thrilled. And Congress should take note.
The COVER Act, introduced by Rep. Sean Casten in 2022, would build on these successful state programs and federal pilot. Congress should listen to the 78% of farmers who are calling for crop insurance to support practices like cover crops and ensure the COVER Act is included in the upcoming Farm Bill.