Farmers unable to plant facing tough decisions

Know your options for prevented planting

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prevented planting 2019 cornfield

(The following was written by Farm and Dairy staff from multiple sources, including the USDA’s Risk Management Agency. It was updated June 3 to reflect two final plant dates for soybeans in Pennsylvania, depending on location.)

SALEM, Ohio — To steal the title of a children’s book, it’s been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad spring for farmers.

Rain and flooding have limited any field work, and as of May 26, 2019, only 58% of the nation’s corn crop had been planted, and only 29% of U.S. soybeans were in the ground. In Ohio, only 22% of the corn had been planted, compared to a five-year average of 78% by this time, and only 11% of soybeans were planted, compared to a five-year average of 55%. Few farmers have been able to make hay or chop any forage crops. Fields that were planted in a rare weather window now need to be replanted.

Farmers who have crop insurance need to make tough decisions regarding their growing season, and deadlines are looming.

But before you make any decisions regarding prevented planting or replant options on your insured crop, talk to your agent. Talk to your agent early, talk to your agent often. You don’t want to miss key dates or deadlines, and you don’t want to assume any action you might take in your fields will be OK.

Note, this information covers only farmers who have federal crop insurance coverage and are unable to plant a crop because of flooding or excess moisture.

Prevented Planting is a failure to plant an insured crop by the final planting date. The final planting date varies by state. In Ohio, the final planting date for corn is June 5, and for soybeans, June 20. In Pennsylvania, the final planting date for corn is June 10 for corn and June 10 or June 20 for soybeans, depending on location (many western Pennsylvania counties have the June 10 date).

Jason Williamson, an agent with Williamson Insurance in northwest Ohio told Ohio Farm Bureau the term ‘final planting date’ can be misleading.

“Those timelines are the final plant dates for full coverage,” Williamson said. “Farmers can continue to plant corn well after June 5 because there is a 20-day late planting period for corn and corn planted in that time frame can be insured, but your guarantee will go down 1% per day after June 5.”

Trade payment vs. prevented planting: Read this to sort through more confusion.

To qualify for a prevented planting payment, the affected acreage must be at least 20 acres or 20 percent of the crop acreage in the insured unit.

Crop insurance prevented planting FAQ

What is prevented planting?

Prevented planting payments only cover insured crops. If this spring’s rain prevented you from planting, a prevented planting payment can help compensate for the farmer’s pre-planting costs. This type of claim is part of a Revenue Protection or Yield Protection crop insurance policy.

If I’m insured, how much would I get?

The amount of prevented planting coverage is calculated as a percent of the insurance guarantee a farmer would have had for a timely planted crop. For example, if a producer’s insurance guarantee is $100 an acre, and he or she insures a crop with a 60% prevented planting coverage factor, the prevented planting payment would be $60 (or 60 percent of the guarantee). The prevented planting factor varies by crop, based on an estimate of pre-planting costs.

What exactly are those pre-planting costs?

Costs can include purchase of machinery, land rent, fertilizer, actions taken to ready the field, pesticide, labor, and repairs. Fixed and variable costs, established from available national and state crop budgets, are compared to average insurance guarantees to establish prevented planting coverage factors.

What do I do?

Farmers who are prevented from planting because of an insurable cause of loss (like flooding or excess moisture from rain) must provide notice within 72 hours after the final planting date if they do not intend or are unable to plant the insured crop within any applicable late planting period. Producers must receive written permission from the insurance company to replant, abandon or destroy a crop.

What is the final planting date?

It varies by state. In Ohio, the final planting date for corn is June 5, and for soybeans, June 20. In Pennsylvania, the final planting date for corn is June 10 for corn, and June 10 (western Pennsylvania) or June 20 for soybeans.

If my fields dry soon after the final planting date, can I still plant a crop?

If you choose to plant after the final planting date, the insurance guarantee is reduced by 1% for each day after the final planting date. After 20 days, the guarantee is 55%.

Do I have any other options?

  1. Not plant a crop and receive a prevented planting payment;
  2. Plant the acreage to another crop after the Late Planting Period ends and receive a reduced prevented planting payment; or
  3. Plant a cover crop and receive a full prevented planting payment provided that the cover crop is not hayed or grazed before Nov. 1, or otherwise harvested at any time.

If I got my crop in, but need to replant, what are my options?

Replant payments may also be available for land that was planted and does not have an adequate stand. Contact your insurance agent if you believe acreage should be replanted.

I haven’t been able to get in the fields to terminate my fall-seeded crop.

For this crop year, the USDA’s Risk Management Agency has determined that you can still be covered if you try to terminate the crops by June 5, 2019.

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“I have talked with countless farmers that see Prevent Plant as a very last resort because they do not want to let any field set idle,” Williamson said. “It is a very frustrating topic of conversation and farmers are just getting ticked off that they have to talk about it. They won’t give up and if a crop can go in the ground, I am convinced that farmers will do everything they can to make it happen, if Mother Nature will give them a break.”

 

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