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Still can't plant? Prevented planting coverage may be best option now

Agriculture.com Staff 06/25/2008 @ 9:40am

It's been a spring to remember -- not in the ways you want to -- for farmers in areas of the Midwest where it's still tough to get the wheels turning in the field.

It's making a tough decision materialize for many farmers who have been held out of the field because of raining and flooding, in some cases, for months now.

"I suppose I could plant well into July, but there's no guarantee the crop will grow assuming it dries up," says farmer Don Larkin of his area around Chillicothe, Missouri. "Somewhere along the line you have to decide whether to take [prevented planting] and a little money or plant and maybe grow nothing."

Prevented planting coverage provides some help when weather totally shuts down planting operations. But, declaring prevented planting must be preceded by reporting losses to your insurance agent, according to the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA).

"Prevented planting coverage due to excess precipitation general to the surrounding area that occurs during the insurance period, and prevents other producers from planting acreage with similar characteristics, is provided for most crops," according to an RMA fact sheet. "Because conditions can vary significantly between geographic areas, loss determinations are based on each producer's circumstances; therefore, insured producers must first contact their crop insurance agent to report prevented planting losses."

The prevented planting coverage amounts to 60% of the crop's value based on fall harvest price, for both Crop Revenue Coverage (CRC) and Revenue Assurance (RA) plans with the fall harvest price option. With Group Risk Protection (GRP) and Group Risk Income Protection(GRIP) plans, there is no prevented planting option.

Your options for prevented-planting acres also depend on whether you were able to plant during the late planting period, which varies by state. If able to do so, RMA says "for most crops, the timely planted production guarantee is reduced one percent per day for each day planting is delayed after the final planting date."

Three options exist for farmers who are unable to get seed into the ground by the end of the late planting period. According to RMA, they are:

  1. Leave the acreage fallow (black dirt) and receive a full prevented planting payment;
  2. Plant a cover crop but DO NOT hay or graze prior to November 1 and receive a full prevented planting payment; or
  3. Plant another crop (or hay and graze a cover crop before November 1) after the late planting period and receive a prevented planting payment equal to 35% of the prevented planting guarantee.

It's been a spring to remember -- not in the ways you want to -- for farmers in areas of the Midwest where it's still tough to get the wheels turning in the field.

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