USDA Changes Cover Crop Grazing Policy

The Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday that farmers with crop insurance can now hay, graze or chop cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage at any time and still receive 100% of the prevented planting payment. Previously, cover crops could only be hayed, grazed or chopped after November 1, otherwise the prevented planting payment was reduced by 65%.

“We work diligently to ensure the Federal crop insurance program helps producers effectively manage risk on their farms while also conserving natural resources,” said Acting RMA Administrator Richard Flournoy. “We are dedicated to responding to the needs of producers, and this flexibility is good for agriculture and promotes climate smart agricultural practices. We are glad we can better support producers who use cover crops.”

RMA added the flexibility as part of a broader effort to encourage producers to use cover crops, an important conservation and good farming practice.  The decision to allow flexibility for the 2021 crop year and to make the change permanent for future years builds on the advanced research and identified benefits cover crops have supporting healthy soils and cropland sustainability efforts. 

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