USDA Releases New Guidelines Pertaining to Cover Crop Management and Crop Insurance
(From National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, July 18, 2013)
In late June, new guidelines were released by USDA pertaining to cover crop management and crop insurance. The new guidelines came about as a result of concerns expressed by many farmers who had difficulty terminating (killing) their cover crops by USDA-specified calendar dates, especially when weather conditions prevented field operations. If farmers using cover crops failed to terminate a cover crop by the applicable date, they were at risk of losing their eligibility for crop insurance on commodity crops such as corn and soybeans. These concerns led USDA leadership to form an interagency task force that worked during the spring to gather the latest information on cover crop management and turn that into a revised set of policy guidelines.
The biggest change in the new guidelines is the move from a calendar date-based requirement on terminating cover crops to a more flexible policy that ties termination times to the planting date of the relevant cash crop (corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, etc.). Under the new guidelines, the US is divided into four management “zones” for cover crop termination, with the requirements for termination varying based on the zone where the farm is located….
Overall, the new guidelines will provide much more flexibility for farmers using cover crops than was the case with the previous rules pertaining to crop insurance. To read full article click here.
To read full details go to the USDA site here.