The National Center for Appropriate Technology and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition announced Tuesday availability of a national webinar to discuss the USDA's recent efforts to assure greater uniformity and clarity on cover crops' relation to crop insurance.
The webinar, scheduled for 2 p.m. EST on January 23, 2014, will answer the question, "when and how can cover crops be terminated without jeopardizing valuable crop insurance coverage of the cash crops grown with them?"
The new USDA policy addresses the concern that farmers planting cover crops could lose their eligibility for crop insurance coverage of the following crop. The policy uses science-based cover crop management guidelines accepted across USDA agencies, NSAC said.
Qualified speakers scheduled for the webinar include members of the USDA task force that crafted the new cover crop termination policy. Farmers and other webinar participants will be able to ask questions about how the policy will work on the ground.
The webinar is funded in part by the USDA Risk Management Agency through the Risk Management Education Partnership Program and will bring together four cover crop policy experts:
Rob Myers, Regional Director of Extension Programs for the North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, who will introduce the topic by providing background on cover crop use and the need for termination policy change.
Tim Hoffmann, Director of Product Administration and Standards Division with the USDA Risk Management Agency, who will discuss the policy as it relates to crop insurance coverage and compliance.
Norm Widman, National Agronomist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, who will walk participants through the new guidelines and how they implicate existing conservation practices.
Jeff Schahczenski, Agriculture Policy and Funding Research Director with the National Center for Appropriate Technology, who will kick off the question and answer period by addressing some specific issues with the new policy's impact on grain farmers in the Great Plains; and
Ferd Hoefner, NSAC Policy Director, and Sophia Kruszewski, NSAC Policy Specialist, who will be on hand to moderate questions.
The webinar is primarily geared toward providing answers to questions from farmers and farm organizations, but participation is open to all, including certified crop advisors, crop insurance agents, and others.
The webinar is free and accessible by clicking here.