Published Feb 22, 2018

Practical Farmers seeks Iowa soybean growers for cover crop cost-share program

By Tamsyn Jones

For Release: February 22, 2018


Alisha Bower |Midwest Cover Crop Associate | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

Richard Lane | Midwest Cover Crop Assistant | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

AMES, Iowa — Practical Farmers of Iowa invites farmers who sell soybeans into the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) supply chain via its Des Moines plant to participate in a cover crop cost-share program through Unilever’s Sustainable Soy program.

Practical Farmers is a partner in the program, which provides cost-share funds for planting cover crops and gives participants access to a robust cover crop support system through PFI’s network. Farmers can reserve their place in the Sustainable Soy program by signing up for a free non-binding, one-hour phone consultation with a cover crop expert at Practical Farmers of Iowa.

During the call, an agronomist at Practical Farmers will discuss ways that prospective participants can get started with cover crops – or if they already have some cover crop experience, how they can move into a more advanced cover cropping system.

Choosing to have the consultation does not oblige farmers to participate, but those who decide to enroll will have fulfilled their enrollment requirement. Slots are available on a first-come, first-serve basis for farmers who then commit to plant cover crops in fall 2018. To sign up for a consultation, visit

Sustainable Soy cost-share participants are eligible to receive $10 per acre on up to 10 percent of their total farmed acres. Participants also receive help securing other public cost–share funds from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The cover crop staff at Practical Farmers will work through this process to secure the maximum cost-share dollars possible for each farmer in the program.

Any cover crop acres planted beyond those receiving cost-share support through these sources would be eligible for a crop insurance discount of $5 per acre on those cover-cropped acres, offered only in the state of Iowa.

Participants also receive a complimentary membership to Practical Farmers of Iowa, which provides access to a broad and active group of experienced cover crop farmers in Iowa and surrounding states, as well as numerous opportunities to learn about cover crops through field days, workshops and other events.

Farmers who do not want to plant cover crops can still participate in the Sustainable Soy program by exploring other practices that could improve soil health, such as reducing tillage and improving fertilizer management. While there is no cost-share or other funding support available for those practices, farmers who wish to go this route still receive complimentary Practical Farmers membership and can avail themselves of PFI’s network.

Unilever, the parent company of Hellman’s mayonnaise, initiated the Sustainable Soy program in 2015 – in partnership with ADM, Iowa Soybean Association, United Soybean Board, World Wildlife Fund and Practical Farmers of Iowa – in an effort to lessen the environmental footprint of its supply chain and fulfill its corporate commitment to sustainability. The company has made cover crop money available to farmers who grow soybeans that ADM uses to make soybean oil for Hellman’s mayonnaise.

For more information on the program visit,, or contact Richard Lane at (515) 232-5661 or


Practical Farmers of Iowa works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Our values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources. To learn more, visit