Ag Leaders Back Change in Prevented Planting Policy

BISMARCK – The nation's leading state agriculture officials have asked the federal government to let farmers grow cover crops without penalty on land for which they received prevented planting payments.

“Farmers in many parts of the country were unable to plant their crops because of excessive moisture or flooding, while ranchers had a tough time reaching pastures and hay land to feed their livestock,” said Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring. “The current prevented planting provisions written by Congress address drought conditions – there are significant differences when one is dealing with excessive moisture or flooding.”

Meeting this week in Salt Lake City, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) unanimously adopted Goehring's policy amendment, supporting changes to prevented planting provisions for producers dealing with excessively wet/flooding conditions by allowing those producers to plant a cover crop or forage without a reduction in prevented planting payments.

“This policy could help mitigate future prevented planting claims by utilizing surplus soil moisture, helping to reduce soil salinity and enhancing soil microbial activity, as well as providing much-needed forage and hay for livestock producers affected by flooding,” Goehring said.

The policy states producers who plant the cover crop or forage on prevented planting acres would forego insuring those crops.

“Under current policy, producers take a 65 percent cut in their prevented planting payment if they plant a cover crop or forage that is harvested or grazed prior to Nov. 1,” Goehring said. “That certainly makes planting cover crops or forage less than attractive from a financial standpoint.”

NASDA represents the commissioners, secretaries and directors of the 50 states and four U.S. territories.