Some farmers that use cover crops could see an insurance discount amid the pandemic thanks to a new program, but the deadline is soon approaching, one agency is reminding farmers.
The Pandemic Cover Crop Program can provide support for insurance premiums for farmers who insured spring crops and planted qualifying cover crops during the 2021 crop year, or typically in late summer to fall of 2020.
Farmers must file a cover crop Report of Acreage by June 15, 2021, to be considered for the relief, though.
“We recognize cover crops require a sustained, long-term investment, and the economic challenges of the pandemic made it financially challenging for many producers to maintain cover crop systems,” said Pamela Stahlke with the St. Paul U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency in a statement. The group serves Wisconsin, as well as Minnesota and Iowa.
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“This program helps ensure producers, including those here in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa can continue this important conservation practice,” she said.
Cover crops that qualify for the program include all that are reportable to the Farm Service Agency. This includes cereals, grasses, legumes, brassicas, non-legume broadleaves and mixtures of two or more cover crop species planted at the same time.
Under those requirements, the RMA said farmers will automatically receive the insurance benefit if the paperwork is filed by June 15 with the local FSA office.
The relief will cover $5 an acre, but will not exceed the full premium owed.
Officials emphasized that the existing acreage report required annually will still be due on its regular deadline, and that this report is separate, unique to this relief program.
Those interested in applying for the relief should contact their local USDA Service Center, or find more information visit farmers.gov/pandemic-assistance/cover-crops.