USDA Mulls Over Potential MFP Payments To Cover Crops On Prevent Plant

June 17, 2019 12:50 PM


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now announcing it’s trying to make a change in the trade aid program.

The possibility is another way to help farmers who have been unable to plant because of wet weather. USDA is trying to figure out how to get some type of payment to farmers who file prevent plant but also plant a cover crop on it later. USDA says it may provide a “minimal” MFP payment on prevented-planting acreage that is seeded to a harvestable MFP eligible cover crop.

The Department sending out these statements on disaster and trade related assistance June 10:

If I plant a second crop or cover crop, can I still get my full prevented planting payment? What about an MFP payment?

“If you choose to plant a cover crop with the potential to be harvested, because of this year’s adverse weather conditions, you may quality for a minimal amount of 2019 MFP assistance.” Crop insurance is not required to qualify for 2019 MFP assistance.

However, USDA requires that a producer plant a 2019 MFP-eligible crop to qualify for the 2019 MFP assistance.

“I see this as a return to a disaster program scenario that we’ve seen countless times in the last 30 or 40 years,” said Scott Irwin, an ag economist at the University of Illinois. “We used to do this with set-aside acres.” USDA is also reviewing the November 1 restriction for haying or grazing cover crops on prevented-planting acres.

Irwin believes it could be big news if the date is changed.

“November 1 means you have a pretty limited window for harvesting and grazing opportunities but it’s still useful in some areas,” said Irwin. “It becomes much more economically attractive and an interesting opportunity if you move that date to October 1 or September 15. Then the economic opportunities probably become a lot more interesting.”

Dairymen are in need of silage aside from the news USDA is considering adding potential MFP payments to select cover crops on prevent plant acres.

John Metzger, a dairy farmer from Kimmell, Indiana says he’s cutting silage weeks late.

“It’s two weeks behind,” said Metzger. “The value is not near of what it should have been.” The difficult spring has been hard for planting too. Livestock producers have been ‘mudding in’ corn because they need it for feed.

Metzger said, “With the wide area across the nation being short on feed, if we don’t have corn, where are we going to get it?” Farmers hope for more clarity to see if the potential change will aid with the lack of feed, bedding as well as weather and trade relief.

AgDay national reporter Betsy Jibben talks with Scott Irwin, an Agricultural Economist with the University of Illinois about his thoughts.


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Spell Check

Worthington, MN
6/17/2019 05:02 PM

  USDA is truly showing what a joke for an agency they are. Has to be embarrassing being in the upper ranks and setting policy these days. They do not know if they are coming or going. Some of us are about to plant a cover crop on our PP corn acres. It’s high time the good ole USDA lets us know what we will get out of it for planting a “ harvestable” cover crop don’t you think? Why all the secrecy yet? What’s minimal? Is this “ minimal” payment going to replace our potential “disaster” funds? Why is the USDA so bent on sticking it too the PP guys? I’m tired of their pathetic shenanigans! We need some certainty and answers NOW! Quit jacking us around!

Somerwhere in SD, SD
6/17/2019 11:34 PM

  What if it is too wet to get a cover crop planted and harvested? Will those producers that are extremely wet be penalized for not getting something out there when they are losing the most? Sounds like they are overly complicating things. Certainly there should not be more of a payment to producers that can get something on their land, this questions the credibility of the program if this happens. It should be optional if people want to get a cover on there and hay or graze it, but certainly not a reward payment for doing so, that certainly penalizes the people that are too wet!

Denmark, WI
6/18/2019 07:56 AM

  In our area, there is are 2 common themes with land that is still not planted. 1- Poor farming practices. Tilled fields with no covers on them have standing water, meanwhile right next to them a field planted right on time because that field had cover crops growing and is/was no tilled. (a regenerative farmer will never complain about too much rain). 2- That field/land is a wet land and should be treated as so. Doesn't mean put plumbing all over it to drain it in the form of tile, it means its a wet land and either plant perennial forages or find a USDA program such as something in CSP to plant once every 5 years and be done with it. Only farmers who should be complaining about rain every other day are the ones trying to make dry hay. This is looking like a bumper crop for the regenerative farmers in our area!


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