Prevented or Delaying 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 several options for your operation.

Producer Options & Flexibilities

Crop Insurance

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 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.

Haying, Grazing and Chopping of Cover Crops

Producers with crop insurance may now hay, graze or chop cover crops at any time and still receive 100% of the prevented planting payment, provided the act of haying, grazing or chopping the cover crop did not contribute to the acreage being prevented from planting. RMA updated this policy in 2021 to support the use of cover crops, an important conservation practice if producers are unable to plant a cash crop.

Broadcasting Seed

Broadcasting seeds and then incorporating is a non-conventional planting option that may be suitable when producers are delayed from planting timely because of cold, wet weather during the planting period. USDA reminds agricultural producers to request an Unrated Practice or Type (TP) written agreement through their insurance company to insure broadcast seeded crops when the policy prohibits the practice or is unavailable for the crop in the county.

Prevented Planting Data

Two sources for tracking prevented planting include:

  • Claims paid by the Risk Management Agency for prevented planting coverage. Information can be found on the Cause of Loss Historical Data Files webpage
  • Acreage reports filed with the Farm Service Agency. Information can be found on the Crop Acreage Data report webpage. The first report of the crop year is typically posted in August with subsequent monthly reports through January.