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:

  • Crop insurance coverage for prevented planting;
  • Technical and financial assistance in planting cover crops, a practice common on lands unable to be planted to an insured crop.

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 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.

Prevented Planting Acres

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.

Prevented Planting in 2019

Excessive moisture and flooding prevented or delayed planting on more than 19 million acres in 2019, the highest number recorded. This led to more than $4 billion in claims for crop insurance. To help agricultural producers recover, USDA made available:

  • “Top-up” payments for producers enrolled in crop insurance
  • Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus and Market Facilitation Program payments
  • Deferred accrual of interest on crop insurance policies
  • Extended deadlines for filing acreage reports
  • Targeted assistance to plant cover crops
  • Earlier haying and grazing