Published Jul 1, 2024

Practical Farmers of Iowa and Iowa Soybean Association Cover Crop Business Accelerator Celebrates 5 Years

By Elizabeth Wilhelm
Program helps cover crop-related businesses grow to serve more farmers, plays key role in expanding cover crops usage across Midwest

Contact: Elizabeth Wilhelm | Media Relations Coordinator | (515) 232-5661 |

AMES, Iowa (July 1, 2024) — To support cover crop adoption in the Midwest, Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Iowa Soybean Association are excited to offer their Cover Crop Business Accelerator (CCBA) program. The program, now in its fifth year, helps new and emerging cover crop businesses scale up to provide the seed and application services farmers need to reach their conservation goals.


“These businesses play a key role in getting cover crops on the landscape,” Lydia English, PFI’s senior field crops viability manager, says. “We need more cover crop businesses in more communities if the Midwest is going to reach its cover crop goals.”


In Iowa, the number of cover crop acres has increased dramatically. The 2022 Census of Agriculture reported 1,282,608 acres of cover crops in Iowa — a 32% increase since 2017. However, to continue to grow and meet Iowa’s target of 12.5 million acres of cover crops, there needs to be an increase in the supply of seed and number of applicators on the landscape.


Through personalized business coaching and financial support, the CCBA program helps address this need by helping cover crop businesses grow their operations and meet their goals. Participants in the one-year program receive business snapshots, create strategic goals as well as receive a capital investment and per acre cost-share.


“Our partnership and collaboration with PFI has been very beneficial over the last few years,” Matt Swanson, conservation agronomist and CCBA coordinator at the Iowa Soybean Association, says. “We’re here to answer questions, offer support and ultimately expand cover crop acres across the Midwest.”


The program has supported 50 cover crop businesses to date, preparing them for growth and long-term sustainability.


Mitchell Anthofer, who owns Anthofer Aerial Applications which specializes in drone seeding and spraying, participated in the CCBA program in 2022.


“I’ve been able to expand my network and increase awareness of my drone applications,” Mitchell says. “The relationship-building opportunities have also allowed me to connect with businesses and individuals who share my passion and vision for innovative agricultural practices.”


Applications for the program are now open and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis with priority for beginning farmers. To apply, visit For questions, contact Ann Krause, PFI’s senior cover crop business coordinator, at (515) 232-5661 or


Funding for this program is made possible by the Builders Initiative and the Walmart Foundation.


About Practical Farmers: Practical Farmers of Iowa is a nonprofit with more than 8,000 members that equips farmers to build resilient farms and communities. We create learning opportunities via farmer-led events, on-farm research and educational content through our robust network of farmers. We also provide funding and technical assistance to help farmers adopt regenerative farming practices and grow farm businesses. Our vision is an Iowa with healthy soil, healthy food, clean air, clean water, resilient farms and vibrant communities. To learn more, visit


About the Iowa Soybean Association: The Iowa Soybean Association is Driven To Deliver market demand, production research, information and insights and regulatory action benefiting Iowa’s 40,000 soybean farmers and the industry. For more information, visit Funded by the soybean checkoff.