As record rainfall in the Midwest has delayed planting of cash crops like corn, U.S. senators Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Dick Lugar of Indiana Tuesday urged the Obama Administration to give farmers greater flexibility in removing their cover crops so Ohio farmers may be eligible for crop insurance.
"Cover crops are not preventing farmers from planting--wet weather is," Brown said. "Cover crops are providing benefits for farmers by reducing soil compaction, storing nutrients, and soaking up excess water. Refusing to provide crop insurance to these famers penalizes them for following good conservation practices."
In a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator, Brown and Lugar called for flexibility so that farmers who have implemented conservation practices aren't penalized due to inclement weather.
Under current RMA guidelines, farmers are not eligible for crop insurance coverage for their regular cash crop unless the cover crop has been removed by a set date. Because heavy rainfall has delayed cash crop planting, many farmers have missed the deadline — originally set for May 15.
Although the RMA pushed the deadline back to June 1, many farmers will still be penalized.