USDA Announces Double-Cropping, Other Crop Insurance Changes

Posted on 03/09/2017 10:26 AM

Changes take effect for 2017 crop year


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Additional flexibility for farmers is being set in place for producers that normally use double-cropping and other changes under the federal crop insurance, according to USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA).

Double cropping requirements are revised to adequately recognize changes in growing farm operations or for added land, USDA said. This change will address both land added to an operation, and account for multiple crop rotations. These changes will be in applicable for the 2017 and succeeding crop years for all crops with a contract change date on or after June 22, 2016, and for the 2018 and succeeding crop years for all crops with a contract change date prior to June 22, 2016.

The definition of "‘practical to replant" is also being revised, USDA said in a Federal Register notice, as "concerns have been raised regarding the definition of '‘practical to replant' and the difficulty and inconsistency that can occur in administering the practical to replant provisions of the crop insurance policy."  Under the revision, USDA the definition will provide a clear, known deadline for when replanting of the crop is considered to be practical and if not replanted, coverage will not be provided for the initial crop. However, USDA said the new definition will also provide an exception for adverse weather conditions that either prohibit the physical replanting of the crop, or impact seed germination, emergence, and formation of a healthy plant.

In another revision, USDA will allow the allocation of comingled first and second crop production to the associated crop acreage in proportion to the liability for the acreage that was and was not double cropped.

"We are constantly looking for ways to meet the needs of our farmers and seek out their feedback so we can best provide them with the tools and resources they need to grow and support their operations," USDA Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse said. "After receiving input from a number of stakeholders, we made these changes to the federal crop insurance program to provide greater flexibility and better reflect current agricultural practices."


Comments: The final provisions announced today came after a review of information received by RMA via a request for comments in Oct. 2015 on issues surrounding double cropping. The rule is effective immediately thought there is a 60-day comment period. RMA will accept comments through Aug. 22. The final rule is being used due to Administrative Procedure Act exempts rules "relating to agency management or personnel or to public property, loans, grants, benefits, or contracts" from requiring them to first publish a proposed rule, take comments and then finalize the rule.

Payouts for 2015 crops have reached $6.180 billion, down from the $9.130 billion paid out for 2014 crops and the smallest since $4.254 billion was paid out on 2010 crops.


 

NOTE: This column is copyrighted material; therefore reproduction or retransmission is prohibited under U.S. copyright laws.

     

 

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