Cover Crop Partnerships

Ducks Unlimited has partnered with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, ADM, United States Department of Agriculture, and Farmers Business Network to incentivize producers in both Indiana and Michigan to implement 75,000 acres of cover crops to improve water quality and wildlife habitats.

Over the next 4 years, DU will work with their partners and private landowners to enroll acres into cover crop contracts with ADM. In return, the landowners will receive a $10/acre incentive payment, each year, for 4 years ($40 per acre total).

Under this project, cover crop implementation will occur across all of Indiana and Michigan but will be further targeted in the intensively agriculture dominated watersheds of Saginaw Bay and the St. Joseph River, Michigan; and the Western Lake Erie Basin of Indiana and Michigan.

According to USDA NRCS, cover crops are only implemented on 6% of the cultivated land in the north-central United States. DU’s goal is to help farmers apply cover crop practices to improve soil health, reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases, and improve water resources, while providing economic benefit to participating producers, while maintaining benefits to wildlife.

Cover Crop Partnership Goals

  • Work with private landowners to implement and enroll 75,000 acres of cover crops a year, for 4 years, across the states of Indiana and Michigan, with further focus on the identified impaired watersheds
  • Improve soil health, decrease soil erosion, increase water quality, and maintain benefits to wildlife and their habitats


  1. Inquire about Ducks Unlimited Midwest Cover Crop Initiative program
  2. Complete eligibility survey & return to Ducks Unlimited
  3. Consultation with Ducks Unlimited or approved representative
  4. Receive and sign ADM 4-year contract
  5. FBN onboarding & data
  6. Plant covers
  7. Closing survey and final data requested
  8. $10/ acre payments made annually


  • Update: As of Oct. 1, 2022, due to high demand, the Michigan program has an application waitlist for enrollment. Applications are still accepted for Indiana.
  • Active tracts within the states of Indiana or Michigan
  • New cover crop implementation
  • Existing cover crop contracts (through CSP/ EQIP)
  • Can’t be in another privately funded program

Producer commitments

  • Complete eligibility survey to Ducks Unlimited
  • Sign ADM cover crop implementation agreement
  • Plant covers according to NRCS standards and specifications
  • Event Attendance – attend 1 approved learning event (field day, etc.) that discusses cover crops
  • Report cover crop acres and provide a copy of FSA 578 form
  • Complete FBN closing survey

For more information, contact:
Jena Herrick
Regional Biologist, Ducks Unlimited