Here’s an email I received yesterday from Eliav Biton, National Wildlife Federation, who has been working diligently on the topic of cover crops with the RMA. I wanted to get it out to you right away. We’re receiving many questions about cover crop options for prevented planting acres.
I spoke by phone with RMA today in both Springfield and Illinois. Some highlights:
1. They chose 2 weeks on the basis of the NRCS practice standard recommendation. In some cases they saw recommendations for 3-4 weeks, so they feel they are being flexible
2. A crop planted into a still growing cover crop is ineligible for insurance, period.
3. Producers who have cover crops that have gone to head (only these producers!) MUST file a written agreement by JULY 15th, which is the final insurance date. If they do so after corn or beans have begun to grow, they may have to have a “crop inspection” from RMA. Currently 5 written agreements have been signed, covering no more than 100 acres.
4. RMA claims to have produced materials on this topic and worked with NRCS to disseminate the above information.
5. Sen Brown of Ohio will be sending RMA a letter. I am working with them on this. Currently our “ask” is that farmers who use cover crops are simply not treated discriminated against compared to farmers who did not. I am very open to other policy level “asks.”
In response to Travis’ suggestion to add RMA to this list, I would instead propose that we maintain this list for informal discussion. I will be happy to draft a letter to RMA based on the comments expressed on the list, and share it along with or without your names attached.
Finally, Sen Brown’s office will recommend to RMA that they meet with cover crop experts to review these issues. I imagine people on this list may be interested. I am happy to coordinate such an event. Let me know about your interest in supporting such an event.