Ag Policy Blog

Senators Seek to Change Prevented Planting One-in-Four Rule for Drought

Chris Clayton
By  Chris Clayton , DTN Ag Policy Editor
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A pair of senators want to change the rules for prevented-planting coverage to allow producers one-in-five years to plant and harvest a crop in certain extreme drought conditions instead of one-in-four years. (DTN file photo)

Sens Ben Ray Lujan, D-N.M., and Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, have introduced a bill seeking to change the USDA Risk Management Agency policy requiring farmers to plant and harvest a crop at least once in four years to maintain prevented planting coverage.

The "Protecting Farmers from Drought Act would change RMA's "one-in-four" rule to "one-in-five" for Prevented Planting (PP) insurance in counties -- and contiguous counties -- experiencing three continuous years of D3 (extreme drought) in any area of the county at any time during the normal planting period.

With the farm bill up for debate in the Senate Agriculture Committee, the two senators, both of whom are members, would ideally like to tack their proposal onto the committee's bill.

The senators stated this extension of coverage would allow producers in areas facing extreme drought conditions another year for precipitation or water conditions to improve without losing crop insurance coverage.

The senators' bill would exclude counties within the prairie pothole region from this exemption.

The one-in-four rule was initially drafted because of a high volume of prevented-planting claims in the prairie pothole region -- which includes Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and parts of Iowa. In 2019, RMA made the one-in-four rule national.

The one-in-four rule requires a producer to both plant and harvest a crop at least once in a four-year stretch to maintain prevented-planting coverage on those acres.

Lujan raised concerns about the rule in a hearing with Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and got a waiver for crop insurance in western states last year. However, the waiver is considered temporary.

New Mexico, however, wasn't a major state for prevented-planting claims this year. FSA data released last week showed 19,492 acres were claimed for prevented-planting this year in the state. Kansas reported 199,198 acres, ranking it sixth nationally for PP claims.

Nationally, there were 3.56 million acres listed as prevented-planted by FSA, one of the lower volumes of acres in recent years and 45% lower than 2022. States with the highest number of PP acres included, North Dakota (918,008 acres); Texas, (841,890 acres); South Dakota, (336,890 acres); Arkansas (226,281 acres) and Oklahoma (203,918 acres) -- with Kansas coming in right behind.

Texas is the one state that saw a jump this year compared to last. Farmers in parts of the Lone Star state saw both extended drought and flooding from heavy rain events in part of the state this spring. Texas went from 82,746 pp acres in 2022 to 84,890 pp acres this year. That hit several crops, including 354,189 acres for upland cotton and 223,044 acres for wheat, and another 155,773 acres for corn.

Chris Clayton can be reached at

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