Ag Policy Blog

USDA Reopens Pandemic Cover Crop Program Premium Benefit for 2022 Planting Season

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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The Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) provides premium benefits for farmers growing cover crops. To get the $5 premium discount, though, producers need to file an acreage form with FSA detailing their 2022 cover crop plans before March 15. (DTN file photo)

Farmers who intend to plant cover crops during the 2022 crop year can get a $5 per-acre premium discount, but USDA highlighted Tuesday that those producers will need to report their cover crop acreage by March 15.

The Pandemic Cover Crop Program (PCCP) provides premium benefits for farmers growing cover crops. The program was first offered in 20221 and led to $59.5 million in premium subsidies for 12.2 million acres of cover crops.

The catch, though, is USDA requires producers to report their cover crop acreage by March 15, which is typically the crop-insurance sign up deadline for spring crops. So producers essentially have to look ahead when it comes to their cover crop intentions.

"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," said Risk Management Agency Administrator Marcia Bunger. "Producers use cover crops to improve soil health and gain other agronomic benefits, and this program will reduce producers' overall premium bill to help ensure producers can continue this climate-smart agricultural practice."

While the premium discount is up to $5 an acre, it cannot be more than the full premium owed on a policy.

All cover crops reportable to the Farm Service Agency are eligible for the program include multi-seed mixes planted at the same time.

To receive the premium benefit, producers must file the Report of Acreage form (FSA-578) for cover crops with the Farm Service Agency by March 5. The cover crop fields reported on the Report of Acreage form must also match what the producer reported to their insurance company for crop insurance policies. To file FSA-578, farmers need to contact their local USDA Service Center and make an appointment.

The discount is then applied when the crop insurance companies calculate the total premium due.

For producers in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa, they can get additional benefits by also participating in programs in those states as well. PCCP will provide a supplemental match for those programs.

USDA doesn't allow PCCP for every policy. Catastrophic Risk Protection (CAT) policies are not eligible because those policies do not have a premium. PCCP is not available for Enhanced Coverage Option, Hurricane Insurance Protection -- Wind Index, Post-Application Coverage Endorsement and Supplemental Coverage Option. Stacked Income Protection (STAX) and Margin Protection (MP) policies are only eligible for PCCP when insured as a standalone policy. STAX and MP endorsements to underlying policies are not eligible for PCCP. USDA has adjusted the program to make it available to producers who enroll in Whole Farm Revenue Protection.

For more details, see USDA's fact sheet and questions about the program:…

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