Rural Affairs Center applauds recent crop insurance improvements

The Center for Rural Affairs applauds the extensions to federal crop insurance recently announced by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). Both of these changes signal encouraging opportunities for farmers practicing conservation on their farms.

On February 10, 2022, RMA announced that it would be offering the Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) for a second year. The program provides a $5 per acre discount on a producer’s crop insurance premium if they planted an eligible cover crop before their 2022 harvest.

If a cover crop variety is required to be declared to the Farm Service Agency (FSA), it is eligible for the PCCP. To receive the benefit, growers must have filed an Acreage Declaration Form (FSA-578) for their cover crops by March 15, also the closing date for crop insurance sales for most cash crops. spring.

“Growers should note that the March 15 deadline differs from the acreage reporting date later in the season when they will need to report their insured crop,” said Kate Hansen, policy associate at the Center for Rural Affairs.

The discount is available for most crop insurance policies, with a notable addition from Whole Farm Revenue Protection. Exceptions include the recently announced Post-Application Coverage Rider and the Enhanced Coverage Option. For growers in states such as Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, which have state-level cover crop rebate programs, the PCCP can provide an added benefit.

In addition to the PCCP, the agency announced that beginning in the 2022 season, soybeans that are relay grown in an established small grain will be insurable through a written agreement. A written agreement is a farm-specific application for coverage developed and submitted by a producer and their crop insurance agent.

“Relay cropping is a crop management system using multiple crops with overlapping growing seasons, but planted and harvested at different times,” said Ross Evelsizer, natural resources project manager at Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development. “Relay cropping in Iowa is usually done with soybeans and a grain.”

Evelsizer is working with growers across the state to implement field trials of relay cropping systems to learn more about the practice.

“Relay systems benefit soil health by minimizing disturbance, maximizing soil cover, maximizing biodiversity and extending the presence of living roots across the entire field, which improves soil health and water quality and prevents erosion,” he said.

“Growers across the country are implementing new conservation practices to better manage their land,” Hansen said. “These recent developments from RMA to support these efforts are encouraging.”