Following is a press release from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regarding the Pandemic Assistance for Producers. Contact your local USDA service center for more information.
(Washington, DC, June 1, 2021) – Agricultural producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) if they planted cover crops during this crop year. The Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP), offered nationally by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), helps farmers maintain their cover crop systems, despite the financial challenges posed by the pandemic. The PCCP is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, a bundle of programs to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions. “Cultivating cover crops requires a sustained, long-term investment, and the economic challenges of the pandemic made it financially challenging for many producers to maintain cover crop systems,” said RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy. “Producers use cover crops to improve soil health and gain other agronomic benefits, and this program will reduce producers’ overall premium bill to help ensure producers can continue this climates-smart agricultural practice.”
How the Pandemic Cover Crop Program Works
PCCP provides premium support to producers who insured their spring crop with most insurance policies and planted a qualifying cover crop during the 2021 crop year. The premium support is $5 per acre, but no more than the full premium owed. Qualifying cover crops include all that are reportable to FSA, including cereals and other grasses, legumes, brassicas and other non-legume broadleaves, and mixtures of two or more cover crop species planted at the same time. A full list of qualifying cover crops is available in FSA Handbook 2-CP. Also, PCCP does not change acreage reporting dates, reporting requirements, or any other terms of the crop insurance policy.
Eligible Insurance Policies
PCCP is available for most insurance policies. Endorsements to underlying coverage such as Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, Enhancement Coverage Option (ECO), Hurricane Insurance Protection-Wind Index, Stacked Income Protection (STAX) and Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) are prohibited from gaining additional premium support. Growers who purchase STAX as a stand-alone policy are eligible for the $5 per acre premium credit.
How to Receive the Premium Benefit
You will automatically receive the benefit if you file the Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) by June 15, 2021 with your local FSA office. To file the report, you should contact your local USDA Service Center and make an appointment. Because of the pandemic, some Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Many FSA offices are using Microsoft Teams software to virtually meet with producers to review maps and documents for certification. As part of filing the Report of Acreage, you will need to provide: cover crop type or varietynumber of acres of the cover cropmap with approximate boundaries for the cover cropplanting datesplanting pattern (when applicable)producer sharesirrigation practices This June 15, 2021 reporting date is distinct from the normal acreage reporting date. The normal acreage reporting deadline with FSA has not changed, but to receive the premium benefit, you must file by June 15. The cover crop fields that you report on the Report of Acreage form must match what you report to your insurance company for crop insurance policies.