USDA Changes Cover Crop Grazing Policy


Farmers with crop insurance can now hay, graze or chop cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage at any time and still receive 100 percent of the prevented planting payment. The Department of Agriculture announced the change Tuesday. Previously, cover crops could only be hayed, grazed or chopped after November 1, otherwise the prevented planting payment was reduced by 65 percent.

USDA Acting RMA Administrator Richard Flournoy states, “We are dedicated to responding to the needs of producers, and this flexibility is good for agriculture and promotes climate smart agricultural practices.” RMA added the flexibility as part of a broader effort to encourage producers to use cover crops, an important conservation and good farming practice.

The decision to allow flexibility for the 2021 crop year and to make the change permanent for future years builds on the advanced research and identified benefits cover crops have supporting healthy soils and cropland sustainability efforts.