Equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities.
2020 was a whirlwind of a year across the Midwest, with low commodity prices, severe drought and an ultra-powerful windstorm, all on top of a global pandemic. If this year has shown us anything, it is that farmers are resilient.

Despite the troubling times, Practical Farmers of Iowa members seeded more and more acres of cover crops this fall. We are proud to work alongside farmers, landowners and companies investing in resilience. 

Hear from Aiden Groves former Cargill merchandiser and farmer Al Klein of Freeburg, IL on the importance of cover crop partnerships in building soil health and resilience. Watch the video here.
Wishing you a prosperous 2021. – The Strategic Initiatives Team
PROGRAM UPDATES
IL and IA farmers: Submit application for $5 per acre cover crop/crop insurance premium discount by Jan 15
Illinois farmers: IDOA is offering a $5 per acre discount on crop insurance premiums for acres seeded to cover crops this fall 2020 via the “Fall Covers for Spring Savings” program. Submit your application by January 15!

Iowa farmers: IDALS again offers a $5 per acre discount on your crop insurance premium for farmers who planted cover crops this fall 2020. The cover crop acres cannot be enrolled in other state or federal cover crop cost share programs, but can be enrolled in private cost share programs, such as the PFI-administered programs. Don’t miss out on this $5 per acre discount; apply by January 15!
Join the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership, PFI and other partner organizations for a free webinar exploring different environmental and carbon market opportunities for Midwest farmers on February 12, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. CST.

This event brings together Indigo Ag, Nori, Ecosystem Services Market Consortium, and the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund to provide a side-by-side comparison of opportunities. Presentations will cover program enrollment, highlighting key contract terms and conditions, payment schedules, and verification requirements.
IN THE FIELD
The 2021 Practical Farmers annual conference is "Coming Home," meaning that in the depths of winter you need not make the treacherous journey to Ames this year. From January 21-23, you can participate in sessions from your home.
We will bring familiar elements you expect of the conference – like practical, farmer-led sessions, roundtables and moderated panels on the issues that matter to you and your farms.

We’ll also have some new offerings, including youth sessions, lightning talks, farmer-to-farmer conversations, a night of storytelling and PFI’s first feature-length film, “Livestock on the Land."
Whether you could not attend the live sessions or simply want to revisit the cover crop bootcamp sessions, we have your back with these recordings. 

The playlist includes two sessions each about cover crops and soil health, weed management and livestock integration. Thank you to all who attended and contributed to our discussions!
The University of Illinois and the Illinois Department of Agriculture would like to hear from Illinois farmers in a survey on cover crops and the “Fall Covers for Spring Savings” crop insurance discount program.

The 20-minute survey is anonymous, and by participating you can enter a drawing to win a $50 Visa gift card from American Farmland Trust.
UPCOMING EVENTS
Hosted by: Josh Divan & Iowa Learning Farms
January 6 | 12 - 1 p.m. CST | Online

Hosted by: Bill Frederick & Practical Farmers of Iowa
January 8 | 12:15 - 1:15 p.m. CST | Phone Call

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms
January 14 | 1 - 2 p.m. CST | Online

Hosted by: IDOA, NRCS & AFT
January 20 & 28, February 4 | 9 - 11 a.m. CST | Online

Hosted by: Iowa Learning Farms
January 21 | 1 - 2 p.m. CST| Online

Hosted by: Practical Farmers of Iowa
January 21-23 | Online
Want to host a virtual cover crop happy hour? We’ll help you with the tech, and how to virtually invite your neighbors to the discussion. Contact Sarah if interested sarah@practicalfarmers.org
 
Are you planning or hosting a cover crop event—virtual or in person? Send the details to rebecca@practicalfarmers.org, and we’ll include it in our next newsletter.
COVER CROP POLL
Send us your cover crop poll ideas! We want to know what YOU want to know, reply to this email with your ideas for the next poll.
How likely are you to attend a local, small group meet up limited to less than 10?
No, I’ll only attend large (40+) public events in 2021
No, I’ll stick to virtual events in 2021
Yes, but I’d prefer a larger public event
Yes, if there’s one nearby I’d attend
Yes, I’d like to host
Previous poll results:
In the last five years, what is the latest that you’ve seeded cover crops?
  • October - 11.5%
  • November46.1%
  • December30.7%
  • January or later - 11.5%
CONTACT OUR COVER CROPS TEAM
Sarah Carlson
Strategic Initiatives Director
(515) 232-5661
Chris Wilbeck
Independent Contractor
(515) 232-5661
Rebecca Clay
Strategic Initiatives Agronomy Coordinator
(515) 232-5661