Published Feb 16, 2023

Practical Farmers’ small grains cost-share program is now open for farmers in five Midwestern states

By Tamsyn Jones


Tamsyn Jones | Senior Editor & Magazine Coordinator| Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

AMES, Iowa (Feb. 16, 2023) — Practical Farmers of Iowa invites farmers who are thinking of seeding small-grain crops like rye, oats, barley, triticale or wheat to apply for cost-share and technical assistance through PFI’s small grains cost-share program.

Farmers in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin are eligible to apply for the program, which offers $20 per acre for growing a small grain with a legume cover crop, and an additional $20 per acre for reducing nitrogen on corn that follows the small grain in rotation.

Full details and an application form are available at

Small Grains Cost-Share: Participants in the program must grow a small-grain crop that will be harvested for grain or forage in 2023 and follow it with an underseeded or summer-planted cover crop containing a legume species. Acres must also be conventional or in transition to organic (but not yet certified organic).

“With cover crop seed prices on the rise, our small grains cost-share program can help farmers save money by growing their own seed while boosting their farm’s resiliency,” says Lydia English, PFI’s field crops viability manager.

“We now have cost-share for both the small-grain and corn years of your extended rotation.”

Fertilizer Cost-Share: Farmers can now gain an additional $20 per acre for taking nitrogen credits from their legume cover crop in the corn year of their extended rotation.

To be eligible for these funds, farmers must agree to reduce nitrogen by 40 units compared to their typical rate in a two-year corn-soybean rotation, or they must apply no more than 100 units of nitrogen to corn that follows a small grain-plus-legume cover crop in rotation.

As part of this cost-share program, farmers will have a one-on-one consultation with a PFI staff agronomist to help them plan for reducing their fertilizer use.

For both cost-share programs, farmers can stack the cost-share with other publicly funded programs, but may not be able to overlap enrolled acres with Environmental Quality Incentives Program practice numbers 328 (conservation crop rotation), 340 (cover crops) or 590 (nutrient management), or with private carbon programs. Please inquire with PFI to learn more.

For questions, to check eligibility or for help getting signed up, contact Lydia English at (515) 232-5661 or


About Practical Farmers: 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