COVER Act Seeks to Further Incentivize Cover Crop Implementation

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Conservation, Legislative

The Conservation Opportunity and Voluntary Environment Resilience (COVER) Program Act aims to help increase the use of cover crops. Introduced in the U.S. House by Representatives Cindy Axne and Sean Casten, the COVER Act will provide a $5 per acre insurance premium subsidy to farmers who plant cover crops. The COVER Act would create a Good Steward Cover Crop program, which would function similarly to the Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP). Several groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), American Farmland Trust (AFT), and Farm Action Fund have endorsed the legislation.


“This legislation would build on the popular PCCP, which has helped thousands of farmers plant cover crops, a key conservation practice to improving on-farm resilience to, and incidentally also fighting, climate change,” AFT Conservation and Climate Policy Manager, Samantha Levy said in a press release. “We have seen this program work on the state level and now at the federal level because it is easy, and it makes sense to farmers.” 

Through the legislation, farmers would receive a premium subsidy when enrolling in a covered insurance program and plant cover crops for conservation purposes. The COVER Act would set aside $5 million for technical assistance, outreach, and program support to help farmers access the Good Steward Cover Crop Program. USDA would also be authorized to evaluate the potential of implementing other premium subsidies for other soil health practices.

“The COVER Act is a game-changer policy that will help farmers create resilient businesses in the face of ever-increasing natural disasters. Cover crops have a host of environmental benefits, like improved soil health, carbon sequestration, and increased water infiltration,” notes Lara Bryant, Deputy Director of Water and Agriculture at NRDC. “The incentives offered in this bill give farmers more financial savings and support for their important work and environmental stewardship.”

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West