After crop reports have shown that Iowa’s harvest numbers are behind the five-year average, Iowa Deputy Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) have announced an extension for farmers participating in federal assistance programs.

According to the USDA, as of October 22 only 61 percent of Iowa’s soybeans and 23 percent of corn were harvested. Naig and NRCS State Conservationist Kurt Simon announced that farmers participating in state cost-share and most federal financial assistance programs have an additional two weeks to plant their winter hardy cereal rye cover crop and still qualify for assistance. For southern Iowa the deadline has been extended to December 3. Guidance from Iowa State University confirmed cover crops planted within these extended deadlines will still have the potential to provide a substantial reduction in nutrient losses and soil erosion. This extension doesn’t apply to all federal programs, questions can be directed to your local NRCS office.