Senate bill would allow more flexibility on prevent plant acres

A bipartisan group of U.S. Senators has introduced legislation which would lift crop insurance restrictions on cover crop planting for livestock feed on land impacted by poor weather.

The Cover Crop Flexibility Act of 2021, introduced by Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, a Michigan Democrat, and Republican Senator John Thune of South Dakota, eliminates the haying and grazing date for cover crops on prevented planting acres.

Thune says cover crops provide benefits to farmers and the environment.

“Currently the haying and grazing date, the date on which farmers can start harvesting or grazing on cover crops on prevent plant acres is set for November 1st which is too late in the year for farmers in more northern states like South Dakota,” he explains.

The bill also allows USDA to include cover crop seed costs as a factor when determining prevented planting indemnities and asks the agency to study the impacts of cover crops on prevented planting acres and potential to reduce premiums.

Senators Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.) are also co-sponsors.

The bill is supported by nearly 40 national and state farm and conservation organizations.

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