USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator William Murphy today announced a change in qualification requirements for farmers in “prairie pothole states” who want to obtain prevented planting insurance. The change is intended to assist farmers who have experienced difficulties due to excessive moisture in their fields over recent years. Beginning with the 2012 crop year, a crop must be grown on the acreage at least one of the previous four years if a farmer wishes to qualify. The states of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota are covered by the change. All other policy provisions must also be met.

“The requirement to be able to bring an insured crop to harvest in one of four years improves program integrity,” says Murphy. “It also helps to meet the needs of farmers in the Prairie Pothole region, where some acreage has not been available to plant since the 2008 crop year due to flooding and excessive moisture conditions.”

The RMA, which manages the Federal crop insurance program, is instituting the change in response to listening sessions with producers in affected states.

Actuarial documents filed for individual counties beginning with the 2012 crop year will include spring-seeded crops in counties with fall (winter and spring wheat coverage) sales closing dates.

Prevented-planting coverage due to floods, hurricanes or excess rain during the insurance period that prevents other producers from planting acreage with similar characteristics, is provided for most crops. Because conditions vary significantly between geographic areas, loss determinations are based on each producer’s circumstances. Producers must contact their crop insurance company to report a prevented-planting loss.

The prevented planting guarantee for the crop ranges from 60% to 70% of the production guarantee for acreage timely planted by the final planting date. Options available to producers are outlined in a pdf from the RMA