Wisconsin soybean growers know that land is their most valuable asset. Because no one is making more, producers across the state implement production practices with the health of their land in mind.
Recently, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced two programs regarding cover crops and nitrogen application that further encourage growers to adopt sound production practices.
“Soybean growers across Wisconsin are already doing what they can to take care of their land,” said Ryan Smith, Wisconsin Soybean Association (WSA) manager of strategic programs. “With DATCP rolling out programs that incentivizes growers to continue bettering their operations, we are making giant strides in the right direction.”
First, DATCP unveiled an application for commercial Nitrogen Optimization Pilot Program research grants. The grants aim to enhance the understanding of and refine new methods that optimize commercial nitrogen applied to agricultural fields. There is $1 million available for the current round of grants, with each ag producer who is part of the application eligible to receive a maximum of $40,000.
“Wisconsin farmers understand the importance of caring for and maintaining our state’s abundant soil and water resources,” DATCP Secretary Randy Romanski said. “Through this innovative program, farmers are able to discover and implement new nitrogen optimization methods that will not only benefit their crops, but also help preserve our natural resources for years to come.”
Applicants must be an agricultural producer, agree to collaborate with the Universities of Wisconsin (UW) on their project and voluntarily conduct commercial nitrogen optimization field studies for a minimum of two years. A research design must be submitted to UW by Dec. 15, 2023, and approved prior to submitting the final grant application. For more information visit DATCP’s website.
The second program features cover crop insurance premium rebates.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA), DATCP is opening an application period for crop insurance premium rebates at 12 p.m. on Dec. 1, 2023, that will be available until Jan. 31, 2024.
“Planting cover crops is a common strategy producers implement to protect their soil,” Smith said. “This program is icing on the cake and encourages those who are hesitant to give cover crops a try.”
There is $80,000, or 160,000 acres of coverage, to be awarded on a first-come, first served basis. Recipients will receive a $5 per acre rebate on their summer 2024 crop insurance premium for acres that were planted with cover crops in 2023, then planted with an insurable crop the following year. Producers who received state or federal cost-sharing to plant cover crops in 2023 are not eligible for this year’s program.
For more information, visit DATCP’s website.