USDA Updates Crop Insurance to Encourage Wider Adoption of Conservation Practices
USDA is updating crop insurance to better meet the needs of U.S. farmers, including organic farmers. The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) says these updates will encourage the use of cover crops and other conservation practices while allowing producers to realistically meet the needs on their farming operations.
The changes can be found in four major policy revision areas:
1. Making permanent a provision that allows agricultural producers to hay, graze or chop cover crops and still receive a full prevented planting payment. Previously, cover crops could only be hayed, grazed or chopped after Nov. 1, or the prevented planting payment was reduced by 65% if producers took those actions on the cover crop.
2. Flexibility with the “1 in 4” requirement that previously required land to be planted, insured and harvested in at least one of the four most recent crop years. New flexibilities allow the annual regrowth for an insured perennial crop, such as alfalfa, red clover, or mint, to be considered planted; allow crops covered by the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) to meet insurability requirements; and if crop insurance or NAP coverage was not available, allow the producer to prove the acreage was planted and harvested using good farming practices in at least two consecutive years out of the four previous years to meet the insurability requirement.
3. The revision of four organic definitions to be consistent with USDA’s National Organic Program.
4. Changes to Common Crop Insurance Policy Basic Provisions, Area Risk Protection Insurance Regulations, Coarse Grains Crop Insurance Provisions and other insurance provisions including an option to delay measurement of farm-stored production for 180-days through the Special Provisions and adding earlage and snaplage as an acceptable method of harvest for coarse grains.