The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that producers with crop insurance can hay, graze or chop cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage at any time of the year and still receive 100% of the prevented planting payment. Previously, cover crops could only be hayed, grazed or chopped after November 1, otherwise the prevented planting payment was reduced by 65%.
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) added this flexibility as part of a broader effort to encourage producers to use cover crops. They note it is an important conservation and good farming practice. RMA recognizes that cover crops are not planted as an agricultural commodity but rather with the primary purpose for conservation benefits. So, for the 2021 crop year and beyond, RMA will not consider a cover crop planted following a prevented planting claim to be a second crop. But RMA will continue to consider a cover crop harvested for grain or seed to be a second crop, and it remains subject to a reduction in the prevented planting indemnity in accordance with the policy.
The decision to allow flexibility for the 2021 crop year and to make the change permanent for future years builds on the advanced research and identified benefits cover crops have supporting healthy soils and cropland sustainability efforts.
More about this policy change can be found on the RMA’s Prevented Planting webpage.