RMA answers cover crop questions

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on cover crop management and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Cover Crop Termination Guidelines.

“These questions and answers provide valuable information for producers who want to take advantage of the conservation benefits cover crops provide while remaining in compliance with federal crop insurance rules,” said Brian Frieden, Director of RMA’s Springfield Regional Office.

The FAQs can be found online at www.rma.usda.gov/help/faq/covercrops2014.html.

RMA made changes to provide more flexibility for cover crop management due to changing weather conditions and changes in cover crop practices for the 2014 crop year. To ensure RMA policies were up to date with evolving cover crop practices, the agency coordinated with NRCS and Farm Service Agency through an interagency workgroup to develop a consistent, simple and flexible cover crop policy that can be applied across all USDA agencies.

Specifically, the group was asked to develop cover crop management guidelines so producers could obtain the conservation benefits of cover crops while minimizing the risk of reducing yield to the following crop due to soil water use.

Using cover crops for conservation purposes has been around for decades, but they are now being embraced on a wider basis due to the increased understanding of the benefits for soil quality, nutrient cycles, erosion control, weed management, and soil water availability.

More information about cover crops and crop insurance is available at www.rma.usda.gov.

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