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RMA discusses prevented planting

Date Modified: 07/02/2013 11:05 AM

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Agri News contacted the Risk Management Agency for information regarding prevented planting.

Q. I understand June 25 is the last day of the late planting period for corn in southern Minnesota. Was that date established by rule of RMA or law of Congress? Who has the authority to change that date?

A. Final planting dates and late planting periods are established by RMA based on agronomic conditions for the area to assure optimal planting times for the crop to reach maturity prior to frost date and achieve optimal yields. Additionally, final planting dates are set when historical records indicate at least 90 percent of the acreage for the crop is planted in the area. While RMA has the ability to consider changes in final planting dates and late planting periods it can't make such a change for the 2013 crop year.

Q. Do southern Minnesota producers have to wait until after June 25 to plant a cover crop on prevented plant corn acres and after July 5 on soybean acres?

A. Producers don't have to wait until after the late planting period to plant a cover crop. If a cover crop is planted prior to the end of the late planting period for the first insured crop and isn't hayed or grazed until after Nov. 1, or was not otherwise harvested at any time, no reductions would be applied to the prevented planting payment.

Q. Does USDA RMA have the authority to waive the Nov. 1 date to allow producers to harvest or graze cover crops at any time without any prevented plant payment reduction? If RMA doesn't have that authority, who does?

A. Federal statue prohibits harvesting of any second crop for the crop year without a reduction to the prevented planting payment. The Nov. 1 date was administratively established back in 2004 with the Manager's Bulletin and since then has been in RMA procedures. The agency determination is binding on all participants in the federal crop insurance program.

Several factors were considered when establishing the Nov. 1 date. The calendar date for the end of the insurance period for most crop insurance policies is the earlier of destruction of the crop, harvest or the calendar date for the end of insurance, which is Dec. 10 for many spring-planted crops insured under the federal crop insurance program.

RMA recognized that in most years harvest is generally complete in early November, which would become the end of the insurance period; therefore, established Nov. 1 as the most liberal interpretation given the statutory limitations it was under. This generally allows producers to hay or graze a cover crop similar to what they would do had they planted and harvested a crop and then would turn cattle into the acreage to graze.

Q. Is this current policy — if a producer harvests or grazes cover crops prior to Nov. 1 he/she surrenders 65 percent of his/her cover crop payment.

A. They actually surrender 65 percent of their prevented planting payment. RMA doesn't have payments for cover crops.

Q. Can a producer plant alfalfa after June 25 and harvest after Nov. 1 on prevented plant acres without a penalty?

A. Determinations of what qualifies as a cover crop are made by agriculture experts in the area. Producers are encouraged to contact their crop insurance agent regarding particular questions related to options available on prevented planting acreage.