Pandemic Cover Crop Program

Insurance Premium Benefit for Cover Crops

Agricultural producers who have coverage under most crop insurance policies are 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), reduces producers’ overall premium bills and helps 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 helps ensure producers can continue this important conservation practice.

PCCP is 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 Works

PCCP provides 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 is $5 per acre, but no more than the full premium owed.

Qualifying cover crops include 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. If you participate in one of these programs, you will receive an additional benefit through PCCP.

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

Eligible Insurance Policies

PCCP is available for most insurance policies.

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

PCCP is 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

You will automatically receive the benefit if you file the Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) by June 15, 2021 with your local FSA office. To file the report, you should contact your local USDA Service Center and 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, you will need 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.

This June 15, 2021 reporting date is distinct from the normal acreage reporting date. The normal acreage reporting deadline with FSA has not changed, but to receive the premium benefit, you must file by June 15.

The cover crop fields that you report on the Report of Acreage form must match what you report to your 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.