Producers in the Prairie Pothole region will soon be able to sign up for a pilot project included in the 2018 farm bill meant to encourage the planting of cover crops.

The initiative — the Soil Health and Income Protection Program — is under the umbrella of the Conservation Reserve Program and offers payments for three to five years to plant cover crops on sensitive acres while having the option to harvest, hay and graze the forage. According to USDA, 50,000 acres can be enrolled in the program.

In a statement, Farm Service Agency Administrator Richard Fordyce said the program is “tailored to the unique soil health needs of producers in the Prairie Pothole region,” which includes acres in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, and North and South Dakota.

SHIPP was proposed by South Dakota Republican John Thune as what would become the 2018 farm bill was in its early stages of debate.

Producers can begin signing up March 30; sign-up runs through the end of August.

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