The USDA’s Farm Service Agency announced a new pilot program to enable farmers in the Prairie Pothole region to receive payments for planting cover crops on their land for three to five years. 

The new Conservation Reserve Program’s Soil Health and Income Protection Program, or SHIPP, is available for producers in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. 

The signup for the pilot program starts on March 30 and ends August 21. 

“We’re excited to provide a short-term Conservation Reserve Program option tailored to the unique soil health needs of producers in the Prairie Pothole Region,” says FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “The number of people that can be enrolled in the program is limited, and participation will be on a first-come, first-served basis.” 

Fordyce says interested landowners need to contact their FSA county office for an appointment to apply. 

Through the SHIPP program, producers have the option of taking a three, four, or five-year CRP contract to establish cover crops on less productive cropland in exchange for payments. 

Cover crops, used either in a single crop rotation or over multiple years, can improve the productivity and health of soils on a farm for generations and increase the bottom line for the farmer.