Progress has Certainly Been Made in Overcoming Cover Crop Concerns with Crop Insurance, but There’s Still a Need for Rule Change Refinements

Over the last half dozen years, the No-Till Farmer editors have written extensively about cover crop concerns leading to disastrous results with crop insurance rules. With the many benefits of no-till and cover crops, we certainly don’t want to see growers losing crop insurance coverage because of significant differences in rule interpretation among government and crop insurance staffers.

But with more no-tillers seeding cover crops, the rules for termination and other factors relating to insurance coverage are more complicated.

Nobody has been more involved over the past few years in dealing with the cover crop vs. crop insurance situation than Ryan Stockwell. The senior agriculture program manager with the Washington D.C.-based National Wildlife Federation has worked extensively with growers and government officials to overcome policy barriers.

Along with firsthand cover crop experience in transitioning his own Wisconsin farm to no-till, Stockwell has some distinct ideas on what needs to be changed in regard to cover crops under crop insurance coverage. Here are four rule changes he would like to see made.

Cover Crops Singled Out

Stockwell points out that cover cropping is the only agronomic practice that impacts a farmer’s eligibility for crop insurance. He’s convinced it’s time to do away with this regulation.

“USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) already has in place a process for evaluating practices once a claim has been filed, called the Good Farming Practice (GFP) determination process,” he says. “Through that process, RMA and the crop insurance provider have local/regional agronomic experts review the practices…

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Lessiter_frank

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has served as editor of No-Till Farmer since the publication was launched in November of 1972. Raised on a six-generation Michigan Centennial Farm, he has spent his entire career in agricultural journalism. Lessiter is a dairy science graduate from Michigan State University.

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