Wisconsin joined Illinois, Indiana and Iowa this month in offering a crop insurance discount for growers who plant cover crops.

The passage of Assembly Bill 727, which establishes a $5 per acre on crop insurance rebate for farmers who plant cover crops on their acres, comes as a large-scale funding package aimed at nutrient loss reduction due south, appeared stalled after concerted opposition by the Illinois Farm Bureau.

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed the bill into law on April 8. The final vote on the bill was unanimous.

The Illinois Legislature adjourned the same day Evers signed the bill, before SB 3471 could be read a third time, a requirement for passage under the Illinois legislative process.

The bill would have established a Department of Agriculture-administered fund to promulgate measures to eliminate nutrient runoff. Illinois agriculture is a large contributor to nutrient flows in the Mississippi River.

The EPA and other authorities have linked nutrient outflows to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, which has repercussions for fisheries in several states.

New portions of the bill would have extended funding for some exiting programs potentially through 2032, and established a Healthy Soils and Watersheds program through the federally administered AmeriCorps volunteer program.

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