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USDA Grants Second Delay in Crop Insurance Premium Due Dates

Crop insurance premiums are a noteworthy cost of business.

To help farmers whose cash flow suffers from a long and late harvest this year, the USDA announced this week that most growers will now have until January 31 to make interest-free crop insurance premium payments on spring-planted crops.

That’s well beyond the normal date of October 1 when payments due on September 30 start to accrue interest.

The USDA had already deferred interest until after November 30 in an announcement last August. The latest announcement gives growers two more months.

“USDA is committed to helping farmers and ranchers impacted by the weather challenges this year, and we hope this deferral will help ease cash flow challenges for producers, many of whom are caught in a very delayed harvest,” Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey says.

This deferral applies to policies with an original billing date of August 15.

Be sure to put January 31 in your smartphone or computer calendar to remind you, however.

“For any premium that is not paid by the new deadline, interest will accrue consistent with the terms of
the policy,” USDA’s announcement says.

What that really means, one crop insurance company source says, is that you’ll be charged accrued interest back to the original date the payment was overdue (October 1) if you’re a day late after January 31.

For many commercial farmers, crop insurance premiums are a noteworthy cost of business.

For example, a Boone County farm with 1,000 acres of corn and another 1,000 acres of soybeans might pay a premium of $19,500. (That’s for corn with an actual production history yield of 200 bushels and soybeans with a 60-bushel APH, at the 85% coverage level on enterprise units with trend-adjusted yields.)

The interest on late-paid premiums is $1.25% per month. And if you haven’t paid your bill by the enrollment deadline of next March 15 for the Corn Belt, you’re at risk of not being able to buy crop insurance, according to this 2014 Successful Farming article by Steve Griffin.

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