by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County

One of the hidden issues of cover crops have been how this practices affects crop insurance for corn and soybeans as a following crop. Recently USDA Risk Management Issued guidance on this issue for our region which clarifies a process to assure coverage for a corn or soybean crop following a cover crop. A factsheet more complete details can be found at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/fields/il_rso/2011/covercrops.pdf

Some  quick details below are an except from USDA-RMA Newsrelease 1/24/2011:

Generally, in the Springfield RO region, insurance is not available for corn or soybeans following another crop (i.e. cover crop) that has reached the headed or budded stage or that has been harvested in the same calendar year. If the cover crop growth is not terminated before reaching the headed or budded stage or the cover crop is harvested in the same calendar year, insurance may now be available through a Written Agreement provided certain criteria are met.

To request a Type/Practice Written Agreement to insure a crop following a cover crop, insureds should speak with their crop insurance agent. Insureds must submit a completed Request for Actuarial Change form; a completed Actual Production History (APH) form with separate databases for the “following a cover crop” practice; the location of the acreage where the practice is being used; the type of cover crop being grown; and the method of cover crop termination (if the termination has occurred at the time of the request).

If approved by RMA, the Written Agreement will specify a rate, a transitional yield (by crop) for the acreage, and that the cover crop growth must be terminated by May 15th of the current crop year. Producers may consider this offer and accept or decline coverage.

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