The Risk Management Agency (RMA) is now providing Midwest farmers more flexibility when insuring crops that follow cover crops. So far, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are impacted.
Heavy spring rains delayed planting in some parts of the Midwest in 2011, raising concerns about the impact a cover crop might have on the insurability of a subsequent spring crop. Restrictions limited the insurance coverage on crops following a cover crop that was harvested or that reached the budded stage in the same crop year.
For 2012, crops planted after a cover crop in the four states are insurable as long as the cover
crop is killed on or before June 5. Whether the cover crop has headed, budded or been harvested no longer affects its insurability. The change impacts corn, popcorn, sweet corn, hybrid seed corn, pumpkins, soybeans, grain sorghum and processing beans.
A cover crop is defined as a crop that is planted within 12 months of planting the insurable crop and is recognized as a sound agronomic conservation practice for the area.
The change recognizes the importance of crop insurance in protecting a producer’s livelihood and of conservation in protecting the soil, according to Brian Frieden, director of RMA’s Springfield, Ill., office.
Dave Robison, agronomist and seed marketing manager for the Cisco Companies, says the ruling will help cash crop producers fully use the nitrogen-producing value of their cover crops.
"This should help corn yields, as the cover crop can now reach bud stage or early flower to produce maximum nitrogen units before termination," Robison says.
"It’s also a win-win for livestock farmers because they can now harvest their cover crops for feed without the penalty of losing crop insurance. We definitely want and need cover crops on ground that is receiving manure applications, and I believe that this ruling will encourage more cover crop usage in the livestock sector," he adds.
Contact a crop insurance agent or learn more at the RMS website: www.rma.usda.gov.