Cover crops is a conservation practice with wide ranging benefits including erosion protection, improving soil health, resiliency and protecting water quality. Agricultural producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are eligible for a premium benefit from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) if they planted cover crops during the 2022 crop year. To receive the benefit from this year’s Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP), producers must report cover crop acreage by March 15, 2022.
The Pandemic Cover Crop Program provides a discount of $5 per acre on a farmer’s 2022 crop insurance premium, but no more than the full premium price. Offered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), the Pandemic Cover Crop Program helps farmers maintain their cover crop systems, despite the financial challenges posed by the pandemic and is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, a bundle of programs to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions.
“Cultivating cover crops requires a sustained, long-term investment, and the economic challenges of the pandemic made it financially challenging for many producers to maintain cover crop systems,” said RMA administrator Marcia Bunger. “Producers use cover crops to improve soil health and gain other agronomic benefits, and this program will reduce producers’ overall premium bill to help ensure producers can continue this climate-smart agricultural practice.” The Pandemic Cover Crop Program was first offered in 2021, and producers with crop insurance received $59.5 million in premium subsidies for 12.2 million acres of cover crops.
Producers will automatically receive the benefit by filing the Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) by March 15, 2022, at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office. To file the report, contact your local USDA Service Center and make an appointment. As part of filing the Report of Acreage, you will need to provide:
- Cover crop type or variety
- Number of acres of the cover crop
- Map with approximate boundaries for the cover crop
- Planting dates
- Planting pattern, when applicable
- Producer shares
- Irrigation practices
The cover crop fields that are reported on the Report of Acreage form must match what is reported to the insurance company for crop insurance policies.
For more information on the program, visit Pandemic Cover Crop Program.
Michigan State University Extension provides cover crop information and resources for Michigan farmers at the website MSU Extension Cover Crops. For more information on cover crops and their use, contact members of the MSU Extension Cover Crops Team.