by Greg LaBarge, Fulton County
Farmers need to be aware of the Federal Crop Insurance (FCI) regulations on harvesting a second crop in a single season. If a crop is harvested and a second crop planted, the second crop may not be insured without further action. For example, a farmer decides to plant soybeans after one cutting of alfalfa. In this example, the soybeans may not be insured even if planted before the final soybean planting date of June 20, 2011. If the alfalfa were destroyed without harvesting and the same acres were timely planted to soybeans, the soybeans may be insurable.
Farmers are encouraged to contact their local private insurance agent. A FCI “written” agreement may be obtained to permit harvest of a first crop and insuring the subsequent crop. However, time is running out. The final FCI deadline for Spring planted crops is March 15, 2011. According to John Gaynor, a USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) director, farmers need to be prepared to report the same crop acreage use to FSA as they would to their FCI agent.
Several USDA disaster programs administered through FSA require all insurable crops to be insured. The situation of harvesting two crops from the same acreage in the same crop year could jeopardize eligibility for disaster programs, including the FSA Supplemental Revenue (SURE) program. Many farmers are good stewards of the land by planting winter cover crops. As long as the winter cover crop is not harvested in any manner, the final crop planted for harvest should be insurable. (See a previous post on cover crops) To be sure, farmers are encouraged to contact their FCI agents to double check the FCI regulations with respect reporting, harvesting, and associated deadlines or “written” agreements.