USDA decision reversal allows
2013 crop insurance coverage
Contrary to an earlier announcement, farmers will now be allowed to obtain insurance on 2013 grain crops if they are grown following an emergency forage or cover crop that was planted this year and then harvested next spring.
This is a temporary rule change for 2013 only and it applies only to cover crops, not to a perennial stand of alfalfa, another legume, or grass that is harvested in the spring and then followed immediately with a crop such as corn or soybeans, according to University of Wisconsin-Madison and Extension Service agricultural economist Paul Mitchell.
Previously, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) had a rule in place that would have prohibited obtaining insurance on a subsequent crop in 2013 if the emergency forage or cover crop was harvested next spring, Mitchell pointed out.
The only exceptions were having livestock on the crop that would have been planted this year or terminating it with tillage or a herbicide early next spring. The cover crops being planted late this summer or early autumn are not insurable.
Under the new rule now in place, the USDA will announce a last harvest date and crop termination procedure that will be specific to each county, Mitchell noted. The promised date for that announcement is no later than Nov. 30.
Mitchell expects that the latest harvest date likely to be set for Wisconsin's counties will be in early May. A termination date for any crop not harvested will also be set, he adds.
Farmers should maintain contact with their crop insurance agent to keep themselves informed on the harvest date and crop termination rules, Mitchell advises.
Another source for updated information is the Extension Service's http://fyi.uwex.edu/drought2012/ Web site.
Mitchell can be reached by e-mail to email@example.com or by phone at 608-265-6514.
On a related point, the USDA has also revised the rules for grazing or haying land that is enrolled in the conservation reserve, wetlands reserve, or environmental quality incentives programs.
Landowners in any of those programs can contact their county Farm Service Agency of Natural Resource Conservation Service office to learn the pertinent dates and allowable practices for their enrolled acres.