Cover Crop Flexibility Act Re-Introduced in Senate

  • On May 5, 2021

On April 29, U.S. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) re-introduced the Cover Crop Flexibility Act, which removes the prohibition on harvesting or grazing cover crops on prevented plant acres prior to November 1 and allows flexibility outside of primary nesting season. The Act would:

  • Remove a prohibition on grazing or harvesting cover crops for hay or silage and eliminate an arbitrary date that allowed farmers with longer growing seasons more opportunities than those in northern states. Farmers would still have to plant cover crops on approved lists to prevent manipulation of the flexibility and avoid harvesting during the primary nesting season of local birds.
  • Allow USDA to include cover crop seed costs when it sets the factor that is used to calculate the prevented planting indemnity. The current formula only allows USDA to consider pre-planting costs when setting the factor, so the cost of cover crop seed is a potential barrier for farmers who are already facing the effects of a natural disaster.
  • Direct USDA to conduct a study to examine the extent that cover crops reduce risks of prevented planting and other crop insurance losses. If the study finds risk reductions, it allows USDA to adjust prevented planting factors or provide policies with appropriate lower premiums for farmers using cover crops.

For more information, read the press release.