If you’re dealing with fields you couldn’t get planted, what you need now is information. What do you do with these fields the rest of the year? Can you plant cover crops? Can you hay and graze?
Brian Frieden, director of the USDA Risk Management Agency Regional Office in Springfield, Ill., took time to answer some key questions about this year’s crop season.
Here are questions posed to RMA. Frieden provides the answers.
RMA recently announced a one-time change to hay and grazing rules. What are the new rules? Bill Northey, USDA undersecretary for farm production and conservation, made the announcement recently. This is directly from the release: “Farmers who planted cover crops on prevented plant acres will be permitted to hay, graze or chop those fields earlier than November this year. USDA’s Risk Management Agency adjusted the 2019 final haying and grazing date from Nov. 1 to Sept. 1 to help farmers who were prevented from planting because of flooding and excess rainfall this spring.
“RMA has also determined that silage, haylage and baleage should be treated in the same manner as haying and grazing for this year. Producers can hay, graze or cut cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage on prevented plant acres on or after Sept. 1 and still maintain eligibility for their full 2019 prevented planting indemnity.” This change is for 2019 only.
If I take prevented planting on corn and don’t plant a second commercial crop, like beans, but plant a cover crop just to improve soil health, do I still get the full corn prevented planting payment, not just 35%? Yes, that’s correct. [You get the full prevented planting payment.]
Do I get penalized on my actual production history? If I plant a cover crop, no matter when I plant it, and don’t graze or hay it, do I still only get 60% APH? No, a cover crop will not impact the APH of the crop prevented from planting.
What if I hay it or graze it on or after Sept. 1, the new date announced for haying and grazing on prevented planting acres? Do I get the full prevented planting payment? Is my APH now penalized and only 60% for 2019? Haying, grazing or cutting a cover crop for silage after Sept. 1 will not impact the prevented planting payment or the APH of the crop that was prevented from planting.
Do the same rules on cover crops apply in all states, or is it state by state? I realize the prevented planting and late planting dates vary by state. The general rules regarding cover crops planted on prevented planting acreage apply nationwide.
In an earlier statement on the Market Facilitation Program, Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said if there were a minimal payment for prevented planting acres through MFP, farmers would have to plant an MFP-approved cover crop. Do you know which cover crops are approved? Does RMA have an approved list? No, RMA does not have a list of approved cover crops, but will accept a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement. Cover crops include grasses, legumes and forbs for seasonal cover and other conservation purposes. Insured [producers] should consult with their local Natural Resources Conservation Service [staff] for assistance with selecting a cover crop.
Can you plant wheat as a cover crop since it is also a grain crop? Yes, as long as an agricultural expert recommends it as an acceptable cover crop.