Aug. 1 Deadline for MFP Aid for Planting Cover Crops
Producers affected by natural disasters who filed prevented planting claims then planted a Market Facilitation Program-eligible cover crop, with the potential to be harvested or for subsequent use as forage, qualify for a $15 per acre payment. Acreage of cover crops must be planted by August 1, 2019, to be considered eligible for MFP payments. For more information see the Market Facilitation Program website, click on How do Payments Work, and scroll down to Cover Crops. MFP signup begins Monday, July 29, at local Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices and concludes on Dec. 6, 2019.
Rob Myers, North Central Region SARE director of extension programs, addressed questions he had received about the program and noted the following information to SARE staff today:
1) People have asked if having an NRCS contract to plant cover crops on a field prevents you from being eligible for this MFP payment. According to Brad Karmen, a senior administrator at the USDA Farm Service Agency, which is the agency handling the MFP payments:
“Under MFP, cover crops planted after prevented plant acres are eligible for a $15 per acre payment to facilitate marketing. NRCS rules still continue to apply so that means a producer can receive a payment from both FSA and NRCS. The programs serve 2 different purposes.”
2) This MFP cover crop payment program is unique to 2019. The whole set of MFP payments this year are designed to help farmers deal with the impacts of tariffs that are affecting commodity prices. Cover crops got added into the mix in part because there are an estimated 15 million or more acres of fields that could not be planted due to wet weather (called “prevent plant” fields for crop insurance purposes).
3) There have been separately offered state-level NRCS programs announced earlier this summer to also encourage farmers to plant cover crops on prevent plant acres. Those state-level NRCS cover crop signups for prevent plant fields have rules that differ by state and are only offered in some states. On the other hand, this USDA MFP program, through the Farm Service Agency, is available anywhere in the U.S. where there are prevent plant insurance claims, and the $15 rate per acre for cover crop planting applies in all states that have prevent plant acres. The payment will be available through FSA for cover crops planted in the last several weeks on prevent plant fields as well as any additional plantings on prevent plant fields by August 1.
For more information on the Nebraska NRCS cover crop cost-share program, see NRCS Recommendations for Growing Corn as a Cover Crop and Deadline Extended to Apply for Funding to Plant Cover Crops on Flooded Cropland Acres.
For assistance with selecting cover crops to meet the goals of your operation, contact your local Extension Educator; Gary Lesoing, Extension Educator and Nebraska State SARE Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org; or use the online Cover Crop Selection Tool for Nebraska, developed by the Midwest Cover Crops Council.