Pandemic Cover Crop Program

Insurance Premium Benefit for Cover Crops

Enrollment for the Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) ended on June 15, 2021.

Agricultural producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies were eligible for a premium benefit from USDA if they planted cover crops during this crop year. The Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP), offered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), reduced producers’ overall premium bills and helped them maintain their cover crop systems.

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. PCCP helped ensure producers could continue this important conservation practice.

PCCP was part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative, a bundle of programs to bring financial assistance to farmers, ranchers, and producers who felt the impact of COVID-19 market disruptions.

View our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.

How the Pandemic Cover Crop Program Worked

PCCP provided premium support to producers who insured their spring crop with most insurance policies and planted a qualifying cover crop during the 2021 crop year. The premium support was $5 per acre, but no more than the full premium owed.

Qualifying cover crops included all that are reportable to FSA, including cereals and other grasses, legumes, brassicas and other non-legume broadleaves, and mixtures of two or more cover crop species planted at the same time. A full list of qualifying cover crops is available in FSA Handbook 2-CP.

Illinois, Indiana, and Iowa have existing programs for producers to receive a premium benefit for planting cover crops. Producers who participate in one of these programs received an additional benefit through PCCP.

Also, PCCP did not change acreage reporting dates, reporting requirements, or any other terms of the crop insurance policy.

Eligible Insurance Policies

PCCP was available for most insurance policies.

There were a few exceptions related to policies that already provide the benefit through underling coverage or that are not compatible with acreage reporting.

PCCP was not available for: 

  • Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP)
  • Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO)
  • Hurricane Insurance Protection – Wind Index (HIP-WI)
  • Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO)
  • Stacked Income Protection (STAX) (if an underlying policy)
  • Margin Protection (MP) (if an underling policy)

How to Receive the Premium Benefit

Producers automatically received the benefit if they filed the Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) by June 15, 2021 with their local FSA office. To file the report, producers should have contacted their local USDA Service Center to make an appointment.

Because of the pandemic, some Service Centers are open to limited visitors. Service Center staff continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Many FSA offices are using Microsoft Teams software to virtually meet with producers to review maps and documents for certification. 

As part of filing the Report of Acreage, producers needed to provide:

  • cover crop type or variety;
  • number of acres of the cover crop;
  • map with approximate boundaries for the cover crop;
  • planting dates;
  • planting pattern, when applicable;
  • producer shares; and
  • irrigation practices.

The June 15, 2021 reporting date was distinct from the normal acreage reporting date. The normal acreage reporting deadline with FSA was not changed, but to receive the premium benefit, producers must have filed by June 15.

The cover crop fields that producers reported on the Report of Acreage form must have matched what was reported to their insurance company for crop insurance policies.

    Find Your Local Service Center

    We are committed to delivering USDA services to America’s farmers and ranchers while taking safety measures in response to the pandemic. Some USDA offices are beginning to reopen to limited visitors by appointment only. Service Center staff also continue to work with agricultural producers via phone, email, and other digital tools. Learn more at farmers.gov/coronavirus.

    USDA Service Centers are locations where you can connect with Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, or Rural Development employees for your business needs. Enter your state and county below to find your local service center and agency offices. If this locator does not work in your browser, please visit offices.usda.gov.

    Visit the Risk Management Agency website to find a regional or compliance office or to find an insurance agent near you.