Farmers who planted a qualifying cover crop in the 2021 crop year and have crop insurance coverage may be eligible to receive a premium benefit from USDA.

The Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) offered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA), is providing $5 per acre in support, but no more than the full premium owed.

In Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, PCCP is an additional premium benefit to the already existing cover crop programs in those states.

To receive the benefit for this program, farmers must file a Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) for cover crops with their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office by June 15. This deadline is distinct from the normal FSA acreage reporting deadline, which has not changed.

All cover crops reportable to FSA are eligible and include cereals and other grasses, legumes, brassicas and other non-legume broadleaves. In addition, mixtures of two or more cover crop species planted at the same time are eligible.

USDA encourages farmers to keep in mind that their cover crop acreage reported on the Report of Acreage form should match what the producer reported to their insurance company.

PCCP is not available for:

  • Whole-Farm Revenue Protection;
  • Enhanced Coverage Option;
  • Supplemental Coverage Option;
  • Margin Protection (if an underlying policy);
  • Stacked Income Protection (if an underlying policy); and
  • Hurricane Insurance Protection — Wind Index.

“Cultivating cover crops requires a sustained, long-term investment, and the economic challenges of the pandemic made it financially challenging for many producers to maintain cover crop systems,” said Richard Flournoy, RMA Acting Administrator. “Producers use cover crops to improve soil health and gain other agronomic benefits, and this program will reduce producers’ overall premium bill to help ensure producers can continue this climates-smart agricultural practice.”