Lake Champlain Cover Crop Program Funding Available to NY Farms

Thanks to funding from the Lake Champlain Basin Program, farms located in the 5 counties on the New York side of the Lake Champlain Basin are eligible to apply for a cover crop cost share payment.   The project’s goal is to implement at least 1,000 acres of cover crops per year for 2 years. 

Cover crops are an effective best management practice to reduce erosion on agricultural fields. Cover crops protect the soil surface from the negative effects of rainfall and erosion during storm events. Cover crops also improve soil health by reducing soil erosion, increasing soil porosity (and subsequently water infiltration and field drainage) and increasing nutrient supply. The improvement of soil health can also enhance climate resiliency by providing protection to agricultural fields due to the ever-increasing number of extreme weather events. 

  • Payment rate of:
    • $70.00/acre of cover crop established; Basic, single species
    • $82.00/acre for Multiple Species
    • $336/ac – 1 acre or less (Vegetable crop/small scale)
  • District will determine acres cost shared based on funding available, # of applicants and determination of potential water quality and other conservation benefits. Farms located in county priority watersheds and first-time cover crop users will receive preference points.

The Participator agrees to the following Rules and priorities:

  • Farm must participate in AEM (Agricultural Environmental Management) Tier 3A Cover Crop Planning, Implementation and Evaluation process
  • Seed used must be tagged/certified and applied at the recommended NRCS rate and date
  • Basic: Cereal rye 112#/acre by 10/10/22, consult NRCS stds for other seed types
  • Cover Crop practice must be applied to cropland planted to annual crops
  • All seed must be incorporated via drill or broadcasting with subsequent tillage
  • Cover crops cannot be harvested for grain (forage harvest okay)
  • SWCD staff will field check and certify implementation in the fall
  • Payment will be made following evaluation of establishment

More information and applications are available from the County Soil and Water Conservation District offices in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Warren and Washington Counties.

Application period begins immediately and applications will be taken until the available funds have been expended.