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Earlier Haying, Grazing and Chopping Allowed, RMA Says

Due to the unprecedented flooding and excessive rain this spring, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) will permit producers to hay or graze cover crops on prevent plant acres as of September 1 instead of waiting until November 1 and still maintain eligibility for prevented planting indemnity.

RMA also is applying the same date to chop cover crops for silage, haylage and baleage.

It is important to note that this change does NOT change what is considered an approved cover crop and insureds must continue to follow all other rules regarding prevented planting and cover crops. For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement (approved cover crop types will vary by area).

Additional information regarding cover crops can be found on the RMA website and the NRCS website.

Note: This deadline change applies to 2019 only. Please contact your insurance officer if you have any questions about your crop insurance coverage.

Other USDA agencies also are assisting producers with delayed or prevented planting. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) extended the deadline to report prevented plant acres in select counties, and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is holding special sign-ups for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program in certain states to help with planting cover crops on impacted lands. Contact your local FSA and NRCS offices to learn more.

Veteran Farmer and Rancher Crop Insurance Benefits Now Available

USDA announced this spring that military veterans now qualify for the same benefits as beginning farmers and ranchers. These include:

  • Waiver of the administrative fee on catastrophic risk protection (CAT) and additional coverage policies.
  • Additional premium subsidy of 10 percentage points on insurance plans that feature a standard premium subsidy. (Plans such as livestock gross margin (LGM) for cattle or swine that do not have premium subsidies are not eligible for the additional subsidies.) Note: producers cannot receive both a veteran and beginning farmer and rancher subsidy; 10 percentage points is the limit.
  • Use of another person’s production history for the specific acreage transferred to a veteran farmer or rancher previously involved in the decision-making or physical activities of a farm or ranch operation.
  • Increase the percent of T-yield used for yield adjustment from 60% to 80% when replacing a low actual yield due to an insured cause of loss.

Who meets the definition of a farmer or rancher veteran?

  • A person who served in the active military, naval or air service in the Armed Forces and was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable;
  • First obtained status as a veteran within the last five years;
  • Has not operated a farm or ranch or has operated a farm or ranch for less than five years.

There are restrictions regarding entities:

  • A spouse’s veteran farmer and rancher status does not affect qualification.
  • Partnerships and corporations cannot be a “veteran”. Instead, members must qualify as individuals. If they include members with a substantial beneficial interest (SBI) who are not veterans, it cannot qualify.
  • If the farmer/rancher veteran insures the landlord’s share on the same insurance policy, the veteran cannot qualify.

Other rules:

  • Veteran status is continuous and reapplication is not necessary, although the status lapses after five years as a farm/ranch operator or five years after military discharge.
  • A farmer/rancher veteran may still qualify as a new producer on a crop/county basis.
  • If a producer qualifies as both a veteran and beginning farmer or rancher, he/she chooses one program.

Deadline for application for the 2019 crop is your crop insurance acreage reporting date, which is July 15 in our service area. For subsequent years, it will be the sales closing date.

Contact your Frontier Farm Credit crop insurance officer with any questions or for help with the application today!

Click to view more information on the USDA website.

revenue protection image

Producers: Control What You Can Control

If there was one thing that U.S. producers could count on in this period of uncertainty in agriculture, it was their skill as growers. But just planting a crop has proven challenging in 2019. Now more than ever, it is important to focus on what you can control.

For those adversely impacted by weather, that means making the right financial decision for your operation during this late planting period. For all producers, it means keeping marketing top of mind to maximize profitability.

Delayed Planting Decisions

The usual applications of fertilizer, chemicals and seed have been disrupted for many producers by wet conditions that stretch back to last fall. The current inputs they carry might be limited to equipment, cash rent, real estate payments and taxes. Producers in this situation need to assess how taking prevent plant payments vs. planting a different crop than originally planned affects their ability to meet their financial obligations.

This can be an emotional decision for men and women whose livelihood depends on growing and selling a commodity. The key is to talk to your crop insurance agent about your unique financial obligations and how your planting decisions impact that.

Revenue Protection

While still lagging, planting has picked up the past couple of weeks and producers have crop in the ground. Take advantage of upswings in the market and use your Revenue Protection coverage to market with confidence. The more you make marketing part of your daily decision-making the more control you will have over your operation and its finance well-being.

More wet ahead

DTN’s senior ag meteorologist, Bryce Anderson, last week shared his latest expectations for the 2019 growing season. To jump to the bottom line, he sees the cool, wet weather lingering into the end of May through the entire central U.S.

Not only is it keeping farmers from the field but disrupting transit of grain exports and fertilizer movement north to farmers, many of whom already anticipated a crunch due to field work that didn’t get done last fall. The Mississippi River broke its 1993 record and is cresting a second time.

“Flooding will continue to be a problem through the entire season – especially in the Western Corn Belt- he said. “Some fields were too damaged to plant this year, for instance.” Comparing this year with analog years 2013 and 2015, Anderson expects prevented plantings to total in the 2-3 million area, well above the 1.5 million average. Virtually all spring crops could be affected.

The Climate Prediction Center’s map shows northeast Kansas is expected to receive almost 4” (100 mm) of more rain than normal between May 9 and May 16 , suggesting continued delays are possible.

predicted soil moisture anomaly may 2019

“However, once the crops are in the ground, growing conditions promise to be quite favorable,” he added. There is a weak El Niño (1o to 2.5o C above normal) in the Pacific Ocean, and it likely will remain in place through the growing season and possibly through the year. El Niño is associated with fewer than normal threats to U.S. summer crops, Anderson explained. On the downside, it could mean another wetter than usual harvest period, though “probably not as bad as last year.”

For more information, contact Bryce Anderson with DTN.

Again, the Climate Prediction Center’s outlook maps for the end of June (shown) and even August project 1.6”-2.4” (40 to 60 mm) more soil moisture than usual.

lagged averaged soil moisture outlook for end of June 2019

Kansas progress

In the week ended May 6, there we three days when some fieldwork could take place, according to USDA. Corn in the 18 reporting states was only 23% planted, compared with a five-year average of 46%, and 6% of so9ybeans were in the ground compared with 14% on average. Kansas corn planting was ahead of some states, but at 41% was behind its 51% average; soybeans came closer to average with 5% planted, one percentage point behind normal.

The eastern part of the state was well ahead of the total: northeast, 56%; east central, 55% and southeast, 56%.

On the plus side, winter wheat yields appear to be strong, based on crop tours ahead of harvest. The Kansas Wheat Quality Council pegged yields at 47.2 bu./acre, well above the five-year average crop tour estimate of 40.2 bu., and last year’s 38 bu.

But crop watchers worry that the crop is running late and prolonged excess moisture could cause problems before harvest is able to commence.

Late Plantings

A conservative estimate for national late corn planting this year is at least 5-10 percent above the long range (1980-2018) average of nearly 17%, according to University of Illinois ag economists Scott Irwin and Todd Hubbs.

They note that years with especially high late planting (2013, 2002, 2009, 1996, 1993, and 1995, in that order),

Impact on yield

Irwin reported five of the six years (19934, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2013) with 30% of the corn crop left to plant after May 20 resulted in about a 6 bu./acre drop in the national average yield versus trend. (2009 saw an above-trend yield.) Based on those analog years, their analysis suggests national yields well below the 175.4 bu. trend yield: 169.3 bu. based on all the years between 1980 and 2018 with 10 percent or more planted late, and to just 168 bu./acre based on years with very late planting (1995, 1996 and 2009).

Click for more analysis on how many acres may be involved and potential impacts on the crop.

Caveat: Fast planting

A recent Farm Journal Pulse poll released May 2 asked farmers how long it takes to plant their crops in perfect conditions. Forty-two percent said they can do it in less than 10 days. Mark Licht, an agronomist at Iowa State University, calculates corn planting peaks between 1 and 1.25 million acres a day (just over 13 days to plant this year’s Prospective Plantings) and about 14 days to plant all the soybeans.

But weather forecasts, including Anderson’s, don’t show that many good field days in the next few weeks. In addition, Anderson added that many fields are slow to dry out even when it isn’t raining, given the saturation and lack of sunshine.

Answers to questions

If you anticipate planting problems, contact your Frontier Farm Credit crop insurance officer for guidance on prevented planting, replanting, late planting, cover crops and related issues.

farmer in the field

New in 2019: Multi-county Enterprise Unit

Farmers now can choose to combine acreage of an insured crop across county lines into a Multi-county Enterprise Unit Endorsement (MCEU). This allows farmers to qualify for the better EU premium rate on land that wasn’t eligible for an EU in the past.

The basics:

  • One county must qualify independently for EU; the other county must not qualify.
  • The land in the combined EU must all have the same elections (insurance plan, coverage level and practice, such as irrigated or nonirrigated).
  • The MCEU doesn’t combine the county crop policies – only all insured acreage of the crop/practice. Separate applications and policies are required for each county.
  • APH yields for each county are not impacted.
  • Premium, guarantee and liability will be calculated separately for each county based on the acres and actuarial documents for that county. But the EU premium discount will be determined by using the total acres in the MCEU.

Don’t wait until the last minute to look into this new option.

Your Frontier Farm Credit crop insurance team has been trained to understand the rules involved. We are ready to help you assess whether the new MCEU would be advantageous to your operation.

Call your local Frontier Farm Credit office or 800.397.3191 for help with this decision today.