It’s hard to describe the gauntlet that Emporia, Kan., no-tiller Gail Fuller has been run through in the past several months. 

Last October, seven of Fuller’s fields were disqualified for federal crop insurance by a local company because he planted a cash crop into fields where cover crops hadn’t been sprayed yet, mostly because of very high winds. In one of those fields, the NRCS had, ironically, awarded Fuller a Conservation Innovation Grant to use cover crops and livestock.

The National Wildlife Federation brought Fuller to Washington D.C. earlier this year to discuss his predicament, and how serious the conflicts are with federal policies as they relate to cover crops and crop insurance. 

As you’ll read below, that led to a task force being formed to address these issues. Recommendations for corrective action will hopefully be unveiled this fall. 

Fuller says the clashing rules and misinterpretation of the rules at the local level hasn’t done much good for cover-crop adoption in his area, but his visit to Washington apparently opened some eyes.

“We’ve got producers just loving what we’re doing here, but they’re scared to try cover crops, thanks to the RMA,” he says. “We’ve had guys with long-term no-tilled fields cutting ruts in the mud to spray cover crops quickly so they’re not out of compliance with the RMA. 

“But the response I got from Washington was unbelievable. I think there will be some huge changes.”

Click on “USDA Task Force Clearing Up Cover Crop Rules” to read more about the task force’s work and Fuller’s situation in Kansas.