Who can enroll in the program?

Any farmer, landowner, or farm manager within in the Lake Decatur Watershed that isn’t already enrolled in another USDA-NRCS program for the same practice (as listed below) on the same field.


When will sign ups be held?

  • Farmers/landowners can sign up any time by contacting City watershed staff.


How long is the program?

  • Five years and individual contracts can range from 1-5 years depending on the practice.


How long does an on-site visit take, and who visits my farm?

  • The conservation planner with the City will conduct the field visit if necessary to discuss farming operations and practices, concerns, and ways to enroll in the program. The meeting will potentially last 1-2 hours. After an initial consultation, the program team will prepare a field map with potential practice locations, base cost-share rates, and other stackable incentives. Interested landowners will then receive direct assistance with sign up and program paperwork prior to enrollment with the County NRCS field office.


What happens if a farmer can’t plant their cover crops due to weather?

  • If cover crops are not able to be planted, no payment will be given and no penalties will occur. We will try to plant the following year.


Will I receive the cover crop payment of $103.80/ acre for five consecutive years?

  • Yes this payment is consecutive for the same farm for five years.


Can a farmer stack program payments to maximize their payment?

  • A farmer can stack the practices and receive a higher payment per acre. When a producer does this, they will get ranked higher because of multiple practices are established.


How will a farmer be ranked?

  • Full ranking criteria will be posted when finalized. Primary criteria will include:
  1. Expected per acre reductions in sediment and nutrients entering Lake Decatur
  2. Location within a priority subwatershed with an existing or draft watershed plan
  3. Number of different practices installed
  4. Historically Underserved (HU) status


On cover crops, $103.80/acre is a yearly payment they will receive each year for 5 years, correct?

  • Correct. At this rate they do need to be applied at the minimum rate specified by the NRCS, for more than one species, and spring kill. The lowest seeding rates will apply when drilled. If they are put on by aerial application, the payment is the same but higher seeding rates will be required. Winter-terminated cover crops will be paid at a lower rate (approx. 1/2)


For a nutrient management plan: Can a certified crop advisor write the plan? Or does it have to have a Technical Service Provider (TSP) sign off and is a Code 590 required?

  • Certified Crop Advisors can help write a portion of the plan and the TSP must finalize and sign off on the plan and a Code 590 is required.


Can we stack our program payments?  Could a farmer do strip-till, a nutrient management plan, and cover crop and get paid for all 3 practices on one field?

  • Yes, we can stack, and producers will get ranked higher if they do multiple practices.


There is a cap of $450,000 for payments to individual farmers but is that cap per year or over the five-year life of the contract?

  • The contractual cap is $450,000 for an individual over the life of the contract.  So, contract can’t exceed $450,000 for individual or $900,000 for Joint operations and group projects.


When we pay out for cover crops or nutrient management, does that payment go to the farmer and then they are responsible for paying the retailer?

  • A landowner can pay the retailer or there is a form the landowner can sign that would allow NRCS to pay the retailer directly.


If a farm is in a no-till and cover crop contract, can the producer incorporate seed with a vertical tillage pass?

  • No, if they are in a no till contract then they cannot do full width tillage, which would include vertical tillage.


If a producer signs up for a 5-year cover crop contract, can they skip every other year and NOT plant before corn?  Or could they switch between winter kill before Corn and spring terminated before beans?

  • You can do both, skip years or switch types of cover crops as long as NRCS is aware of plans and the correct components/years are planned.


What happens if a grower or tenant farmer is enrolled in a long term RCPP contract, and the landowner passes away, or the tenant loses control of the farm?

  • In either the case of the landowner passing away or the tenant losing the farm, the contract can be transferred to the successor or cancelled.


There are other NRCS programs farmers can take advantage of. We suggest you meet with your local NRCS office. Also the ADM re:generations program is available to area producers not within the Lake Decatur Watershed: www.admadvantage.com/regen