Getting Cover on Prevented Planting Ground

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Flooding across the Midwest has kept farmers from planting an unusually high number of acres this spring. Unable to plant their cash crop, many farmers are taking a second look at cover crops in order to maintain living cover on their fields and prevent erosion. Unfortunately, the relationship between cover crops and prevented planting crop insurance is a little complex.

If a farmer wishes to both collect a full prevented planting payment and plant a cover crop, then the farmer cannot hay, graze or cut for silage the cover crop before Sept. 1. If the farmer wishes to hay, graze or cut for silage before Sept. 1, then there are a few options:

  • If the cover crop is planted during the late planting period and utilized before Sept. 1, the farmer is not eligible to collect a prevented planting payment.
  • If the cover crop is planted after the late planting period and utilized before Sept. 1, the farmer can only collect 35 percent of the prevented planting payment.

In addition, the farmer cannot harvest the cover crop (except for silage, haylage and baleage) and still receive a prevented planting payment. Please see below for a full breakdown on the options available based upon when you plant your cover crop.

In past years, this key deadline was Nov. 1, however the Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced in June that it was moving the deadline. NACD has supported this change, since it adds extra incentive for a farmer to plant cover crops.

Of course, if a farmer is not interested in or eligible to collect a prevented planting payment from his or her crop insurance, then these restrictions on cover crops are moot. These farmers are welcome to utilize their cover crops as they wish.

For farmers interested in cover crops, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) does have assistance available. Several states (Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and South Dakota) are holding special signups for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) specifically for cover crops on acres that could not be planted this year. EQIP provides cost share funding for farmers that add cover crops to their farm.

The Risk Management Agency has published a list of FAQ for the interaction of cover crops and prevented planting payments and NRCS has published a fact sheet for farmers who are interested in planting cover crops after a prevented planting payment. USDA does not have a list of approved cover crops as this can vary across the country so farmers who are interested in either cost share funding or technical assistance for planting cover crops should contact their local NRCS or conservation district office.

As this growing season continues, producers should continue to visit www.farmers.gov.

Cover Crop Planted Disposition Pay 100% Pay 35% Pay 0%
Before Final Planting Date (FPD) of the Prevented Crop** Hayed/Grazed/Cut for silage during or before the end of the LPP X
Hayed/Grazed/Cut for silage after the LPP, but before Sept 1 X*
Hayed/Grazed/Cut for silage on or after Sept 1 X
Harvested for grain or seed at any time X
During Late Planting Period (LPP) of the Prevented Crop Hayed/Grazed/Cut for Silage before Sept 1 X
Hayed/Grazed/Cut for silage on or after Sept 1 X
Harvested for grain or seed at any time X
After Late Planting Period of the Prevented Crop Hayed/Grazed/Cut for silage before Sept 1 X
Hayed/Grazed/Cut for silage on or after Sept 1 X
Harvested for grain or seed at any time X*

*Provided the crop claimed as a cover crop is not the prevented crop and all other policy provisions are met.

**Example: Fall-Planted Cover Crop; Spring PP Crop

 

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Tags: NRCS, USDA NRCS, cover crop

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