The USDA's Risk Management Agency recently announced updated guidance providing producers more flexibility when insuring a crop that follows a cover crop in Ohio as well as Illinois, Indiana and Michigan.
RMA changed federal crop insurance provisions concerning cover crops as a result of increasing interest in this conservation practice.
According to Brian Frieden, director of the Risk Management Agency's Springfield Regional Office, the changes are a result of a coordinated effort with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency to develop a consistent, simple and flexible policy across the three agencies.
"For farmers wanting to insure their spring crop following a cover crop in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio the cover crop must have been planted within the last 12 months and terminated at, or within five days after planting, but before crop emergence," says Frieden. "Cover crops may also be hayed, grazed or used for silage as long as the planned amount of biomass is available at the time termination."
Thinking About A Cover Crop? Start With Developing A Plan
Taking time to design your cover crop plan will increase the successful establishment of the crop and potentially allow for improved staggering of fall harvest.
Producers using cover crops are encouraged to discuss these changes with their crop insurance agent when making decisions for the upcoming crop year.
A cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement. For the 2014 crop year, crops planted following a cover crop are insurable as long as the cover crop is managed and terminated according to the Natural Resources Conservation Services' Cover Crop Termination Guidelines and Cover Crop Termination Zones Map.
Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. Contact a local crop insurance agent for more information about the program. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers or on the RMA website at: www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents/.