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Prevented or Delayed Planting

Did heavy rainfall, flooding, or other weather events prevent or delay planting on your farm? USDA is here to help farmers navigate challenges when it comes to prevented planting. USDA offers:

  • Prevented planting coverage through USDA-administered crop insurance policies;
  • Technical and financial assistance in planting cover crops, a practice common on lands unable to be planted to an insured crop.

Prevented Planting Coverage

Most farmers are familiar with prevented planting as part of their crop insurance coverage. Prevented planting is the failure to plant an insured crop with the proper equipment by the final planting date. Prevented planting coverage is available for most crops and and covers insurable causes of loss such as floods, hurricanes, or excess precipitation that occurs during the insurance period and prevents other producers from planting, too.

If you are prevented from planting your acreage, you are required to provide a notice of loss to your insurance agent within 72 hours after the final planting date if you do not intend or are unable to plant.

Learn more about prevented planting coverage.

Cover Crops

Cover crops help farmers to manage soil erosion, weeds, and pests and to improve soil health. Farmers often plant cover crops during the off-season after harvesting cash crops. They also can be planted on fields where farmers were prevented from planting a cash crop. 

Many fields that are saturated for a long time face a loss of soil organisms. Cover crop roots re-establish soil health and create pathways for air and water to move through the soil. USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service provides technical and financial assistance to help farmers plant cover crops, a popular conservation practice among farmers across the U.S. 

Download our "Cover Crops and Prevented Planting" fact sheet to learn more.

Special Assistance in 2019

Excessive moisture and flooding in 2019 have prevented or delayed planting on many farms across most of the country. Many producers are unable to plant crops by a final planting date or have experienced significant delays in planting.

On December 1, 2019, FSA released an updated crop acreage data report of the year, showing that 19.61 million acres were filed prevented from planting. Additionally, as of January 6, 2020, RMA has paid roughly $4.28 billion in claims for prevented planting, of which $4 billion was due to floods and excess moisture.

USDA knows producers are facing tough times and is working to assist producers with making decisions. Special assistance includes:


Top-up Payments

Producers who currently participate in Federal crop insurance and had an approved non-drought-related prevented planting indemnity in 2019 due to excessive moisture, flooding, or other non-drought causes will receive additional financial support.

The USDA announced November 8 that producers have received nearly $570 million in “top-up” payments made available through the 2019 disaster bill. Additional payments will be made in the middle of each month as more prevented planting claims are processed.

Producers with Yield Protection and Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion will receive a 10 percent top-up payment, while producers with Revenue Protection will receive 15 percent. All producers with a 2019 prevented planting indemnity will automatically receive the top-up. They do not need to sign up to receive payments.

Producers who received top-up payments are required to purchase Federal crop insurance for two years.

For more information, see our December 5, 2019 Stakeholder Announcement or our November 8, 2019 news release

Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus Payments

As part of Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), producers with flooding or excess moisture-related prevented planting insurance claims in calendar year 2019 will receive a prevented planting supplemental disaster (“bonus”) payment equal to 10 percent of their prevented planting indemnity, plus an additional 5 percent will be provided to those who purchased harvest price option coverage.  Further details on implementation of 2019 prevent plant “bonus” on insured crops will be announced soon. Producers who suffered 2019 crop losses on insured crops do not need to sign up with their FSA county office at this time.

As under 2017 WHIP, WHIP+ will provide prevented planting assistance to uninsured producers, Noninsured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) producers, and producers who may have been prevented from planting an insured crop in the 2018 crop year and those 2019 crops that had a final planting date prior to January 1, 2019.

Deferred Accrual of Interest on Insurance Policies

One of the largest operating costs for producers is crop insurance premiums paid to their Approved Insurance Provider, and RMA is changing the date when interest is accrued on crop insurance policies to provide relief to producers.

For all policies with a premium billing date of August 15, 2019, RMA is deferring the accrual of interest on 2019 crop year insurance premiums to the earlier of:

  • the applicable termination date; or 
  • until January 31, 2020.

USDA had previously announced a deferral to November 30, 2019, providing producers with an additional two months from the traditional September 30 date. Producers will now have until January 31, 2020, to pay the 2019 premium without accruing interest. For any premium that is not paid by the new deadline, interest will accrue consistent with the terms of the policy.

Find more information in our November 14, 2019 news release.

Extended Deadlines to File Acreage Reports

USDA extended the deadline – from July 15, 2019 to July 22, 2019 – for agricultural producers in states impacted by flooding and heavy moisture.

Filing a timely crop acreage report is important for maintaining eligibility for USDA conservation, disaster assistance, safety net, crop insurance, and farm loan programs. A crop acreage report documents all crops and their intended uses and is an important part of record-keeping for your farm or ranch. Producers filing reports with FSA county offices are encouraged to set up an appointment before visiting the office. Acreage reports from producers in the affected states who set up appointments before the July 22 deadline are considered timely filed, even if the appointment occurs after the deadline. 

Learn more by reading our July 10, 2019 news release and July 11, 2019 news release (Louisiana).

Targeted Assistance to Plant Cover Crops

USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service can help producers cover part of the cost for cover crops through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. In 2019, NRCS held special sign-ups in 10 states – Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee.

Producers can hay, graze, or chop a cover crop planted with NRCS assistance and be eligible for a prevented planting payment.

    Earlier Haying and Grazing of Cover Crops

    Farmers who planted cover crops on prevented plant acres can cut those fields for silage, haylage, or baleage earlier in 2019. USDA's Risk Management Agency adjusted the final haying and grazing date from November 1 to September 1 to help farmers who were prevented from planting or delayed in planting because of flooding and excess rainfall this spring.   

    Producers should consult agricultural experts for the best cover crop options as USDA does not have an approved list of cover crops. To be eligible for prevented plant payments, producers:

    • Do need to follow cover crop termination guidelines, which are available on RMA’s Cover Crop webpage.
    • Do not need NRCS to review or approve cover crop selections for producers to be eligible for prevented plant payments. 

    Find more information in our frequently asked questions or our June 20, 2019 news release.

    Market Facilitation Payments

    Producers affected by natural disasters who filed prevented planting claims then planted an Market Facilitation Program-eligible cover crop, with the potential to be harvested or for subsequent use as forage, qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acreage of cover crops has to be planted by August 1, 2019 to be considered eligible for MFP payments.

    Learn more by visiting our MFP webpage.