BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring says federal crop insurance authorities have taken a positive step to help North Dakota producers who have not been able to plant their crops.

"USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) has just extended the eligibility for prevented planting coverage from one in three years to one in four,” Goehring said. “This action is in direct response to the conditions we are experiencing this year, and RMA deserves our thanks.”

Goehring said that the rule change means that land will be eligible for prevented planting coverage if the farmer has been able to plant and harvest a crop on it in one of the past four years. Previously, RMA had announced that the eligibility period would be one in three years.

"It also provided clarification, removing doubt for the 2011 cropping season, reinforcing the implementation of the new rule for 2012 when it was originally intended to be implemented,” Goehring said. “Some insurance companies planned on enforcing the new rule this year.”

The change goes into effect next year in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Montana.