Grain News

ND Sen. Heitkamp Calls on USDA to Delay Corn Planting Deadlines

Date Posted: May 22, 2014

Washington, DC—U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp May 19 called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to delay the final crop insurance planting deadline for corn growers in North Dakota.

Additionally, Heitkamp requested that USDA consider moving back final planting dates for early spring crops in 2015 and subsequent crop years.

Many farmers will be unable to get their crop in the ground by the May 25th deadline because of a very wet spring.

If the deadline is not extended, farmers will then have to decide whether to plant with limited or reduced crop insurance, or to participate in the prevented plant program.

“North Dakota farmers are battling yet another wet spring, with almost all of our corn growers’ crops still not in the ground. With an extension, we can provide our hardworking farmers with some more time to make their very consequential decisions, and potentially save USDA money with less of them using the prevented plant claims in the crop insurance program,” said Heitkamp.

“I have spent a lot of time discussing this issue with our producers, and am confident it is in all of our best interests to push this deadline back. I hope USDA agrees.”

To read Heitkamp’s full letter to USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Brandon Wills, who Heitkamp hosted in North Dakota last year, click here.

Heitkamp, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, is also working with North Dakota farm groups to encourage them to provide producers with information about how the new prevented plant crop insurance rules may impact their operations.

Last year, Senator Heitkamp pressed RMA to remove ambiguities in the rules regarding prevent plant coverage eligibility.

As a result of her efforts, USDA clarified the rules. However, eligibility has been restricted to farmers that have planted a crop at least once in the past four years.

Given the wet planting seasons in 2011 and 2013, some farmers may be unable to access prevent plant policies this year.

For this category of farmer, it is essential that they get a crop into the ground so that they can qualify for prevented plant policies in future years. Producers should contact their local FSA office immediately for more information.

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