Farmers encouraged to contact insurance provider about haying or grazing a cover crop this spring

News release from USDA Risk Management Agency, contact Dustin Vande Hoef, 515/281-3375.

Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today encouraged farmers with cover crops to contact their insurance provider if they are interested in haying or grazing after May 10, 2013.  The USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) has provided new guidance that insurance providers may allow farmers to continue to hay or gaze the cover crop until May 22, 2013.

“It is critically important for farmers to work with their insurance provider and receive approval if they are interested in haying or grazing a cover crop past May 10,” Northey said.  “It has been a very challenging spring for farmers and hopefully this announcement will provide farmers with some additional flexibility.”

USDA had previously provided guidance to farmers interested in insuring a spring crop following a cover crop that they must not hay, graze or otherwise harvest the cover crop after May 10, and terminate the cover crop prior to planting the spring crop.  The cover crop must be terminated with tillage or herbicide, grazing is not considered terminating the crop.

“This new guidance from RMA only affects farmers interested in haying or grazing a cover crop past May 10,” Northey added.  “Otherwise, a farmer only has to terminate the cover crop prior to planting.  So, if they aren’t able to get into a field due to wet weather they still have time to kill the cover crop prior planting and not have it impact their crop insurance.”

In addition to contacting their insurance provider, farmers can also contact the USDA Risk Management Agency’s Saint Paul Regional Office for more information via phone at 651-290-3304, email at, or online at

Bulletin – Haying and Grazing of a Cover Crop for the 2013 Crop Year

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

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