Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and several state representatives introduced bipartisan legislation to incentivize farmers to plant cover crops to help boost environmental conservation. The Conservation Opportunity and Voluntary Environment Resilience Program (COVER) Act would provide farmers who plant cover crops a crop insurance discount of $5 per acre. It will also lower the long-term cost of crop insurance by making the Pandemic Cover Crop Program permanent, authorizing additional funding for technical assistance in accessing the Good Steward Cover Crop Program, and creating a Soil Health Pilot Program. “Farmers are the original conservationists.,” says Brown. “By utilizing cover crops, they can increase yield, decrease pesticide use, and reduce runoff into waterways, which is good for everyone.”
Planting cover crops slows erosion, promotes soil health, improves water availability, suppresses weeds, attracts pollinators, helps control pests and diseases, and increases biodiversity. Cover crops increase yields and reduce crop insurance losses caused by prevented planting.