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The Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crops Initiative is a project developed by the Iowa Seed Association in conjunction with the Agribusiness Association of Iowa, Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, and Iowa Corn. A grant from the Iowa Department of Agriculture under their Clean Water Initiative program provides funding for the project, which began in 2016. 


The Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crops Initiative focuses on ways to help increase adoption of cover crops specifically within the seed corn production system in Iowa. The focus on seed corn is driven by the unique opportunity that seed corn provides due to the earlier harvest, thereby providing better timing opportunities for establishing cover crops in the late summer and fall after harvest. This focus is also heavily driven by the seed corn industry in Iowa, and their efforts to help promote and support the use of cover crops as part of Iowa’s Nutrient Strategy.

Primary Objectives:

  • Directly engage seed corn companies to work with their growers on adopting cover crops

  • Increase the number of seed corn growers utilizing cover crops

  • Develop and deploy new strategic partnerships with agricultural retailers to provide turn-key services for growers to assist them with cover crop implementation

  • Develop and distribute educational and informational materials primarily targeted to entry-level audiences to provide more focus on beginning cover crop user needs

  • Hold demonstration field days and grower meetings to provide information and advice designed to equip farmers with the resource support needed for successful establishment and management of cover crops


Project Details:

  • Funds will be made available exclusively to farmers that grow seed corn

  • Cost-Share (C/S) assistance is available to growers for planting cover crops on seed corn acres only.

  • Both winter and non-winter hardy cover crops are allowed.

  • C/S rate available to growers is $15/acre for winter-hardy and $10/acre for non-winter hardy.

  • First time cover crop users receive an additional $5/acre incentive.

  • Seed companies and other supporting partners can offer incentives of their own in addition to the C/S from project funds if they desire to do so (e.g. discounts on cover crop seed or seeding services, or $/acre incentives from seed companies).


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Coordinator - Erica Lydolph

Erica Lydolph

Erica Lydolph is the project coordinator for the Iowa Seed Corn Cover Crops Initiative. She is originally from Charles City, Iowa and resides with her husband and three children in Van Buren County, Iowa where they raise corn, soybeans, cattle, and hogs. She graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agronomy and is currently working on a Master of Agribusiness Degree from Kansas State University. In addition to working on this project, she also works for Land O’Lakes Finance Company as a Senior Loan Officer and owns and operates her own crop insurance business. Erica is very passionate about agriculture! In addition to farming, her family enjoys being outdoors, cooking, and watching sports.

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