USDA Expects Storm-Related Planting Claims to Top $1 Billion

The Department of Agriculture is expecting storm-ravaged farmers to file more than $1 billion in prevented-planting claims for fields they could not plant this year due to heavy rains and flooding, according to press reports.

Bill Northey, the USDA’s undersecretary for farm production and conservation, said the claims this year could exceed previous highs of 10 million acres, Agri-Pulse reported. As of Monday, the Risk Management Agency has paid roughly $151 million in prevented-planting claims related to excess moisture and flooding for this crop year, a $39 million increase from the week before.

The USDA is encouraging farmers to plant cover crops on fields where they could not plant commodity crops and says those fields will be eligible for Trump tariff payments. The USDA has been searching for a way to provide Market Facilitation Payments for prevented-planting acres. The official inclusion of cover crops was announced Monday by Natural Resources Conservation Service Chief Matthew Lohr, according to AgWeb.

Although some growers may collect three or even four payments on land where they were unable to plant a crop this spring, no one is going to get rich with this approach, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said last week.

Perdue said the USDA would “top off” the crop insurance indemnities with money from the recently enacted disaster bill. The land also could draw a “minimal” trade payment if it’s planted in a cover crop that is part of the Trump package. In some parts of the country, the USDA will hold signups to share the cost, through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, of cover crops.

Plus, if farmers sow a cover crop on prevented-planting land, they can harvest it or graze livestock on it starting Sept. 1, creating a chance for revenue.

Produced with FERN, non-profit reporting on food, agriculture, and environmental health.
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