Final planting date doesn't mean final

COUNTRY Financial, Illinois Farm Bureau team up for second webinar for farmers.

IFB, COUNTRY representatives answer farmer questions during the second webinar.

By Joanie Stiers

COUNTRY Financial professionals reminded farmers not to take “final planting date” literally during a webinar last week that helped navigate prevented planting and other crop insurance decisions most farmers have never before faced.

“The federal crop terminology is complex” said Martin McDonald, COUNTRY’s senior crop office and field claims adjuster. “Final does not mean done, and that’s it. We wanted to make sure there wasn’t confusion about final plant date meaning you had to be done planting.”

McDonald presented during a timely second webinar last week on prevented planting, late planting, replant, trade mitigation payments and disaster relief. COUNTRY Financial and Illinois Farm Bureau organized the live webinar.

Farmers cannot submit a prevented plant claim until after the designated “final planting date,” which differs by county and the prevented crop. While insurance terminology calls it “final,” farmers still can plant with a reduced guarantee of 1 percent per day through the late planting period, which is 20 days following the county's assigned final planting date for corn and 25 days following for soybeans.

With the complexity of insurance coverage for prevented plant, replant and failed crops, McDonald more than once emphasized that farmers should speak with a COUNTRY crop certified representative about their individual situations.

“Farmers need to get a claim turned in, and they need to be talking to an adjuster and talk about their own specific stuff,” McDonald said. “What works for their neighbor might not work for them. They could have a different policy or different planting histories. Don’t estimate that this is how it works or anticipate how it works. Talk to an adjuster and get the real deal.”

COUNTRY and IFB representatives spent an hour discussing replants, first crop, second crop and failed crop, as well as known details about the Market Facilitation Program and the Disaster Relief Act of 2019. 

Highlights included:

* Prevented plant reminder. Reporting prevented planting acres on an acreage report or to the Farm Service Agency does not generate a claim. A claim must be submitted no later than 72 hours after the end of the late planting period.

* Replant/failed crops. Replant is considered replacing the seed or plants of the same crop on the same insured acreage. For corn and soybeans, it will be considered practical to replant through the 10th day after the final planting date. When it is no longer practical to replant, the crop becomes a failed crop.

* Options for failed acres: 1.) Do not plant a second crop. 2.) Plant a second crop and waive insurance coverage. 3.) Plant a second crop and elect to insure it.

* Market Facilitation Program (MFP): USDA confirmed farmers will not receive MFP payments for acres not planted, yet the agency is exploring a minimal payment to farmers who plant an MFP-eligible cover crop on prevented plant acres. Crop insurance is not required to qualify for 2019 MFP. USDA said more MFP details will be released soon.

* Disaster Relief Act: USDA hinted it may increase compensation for prevented plant losses. Counties declared a disaster area are eligible for benefits. Losses on farms outside of those counties will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Producers receiving disaster relief payments will be required to buy crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage for the next two crop years. This act gives USDA authority to compensate producers on the higher of the projected price or harvest price.