ASA has organized a coalition of farm and commodity groups which met with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) Acting Administrator Brandon Willis and other top RMA officials.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss cover crop rules in federal crop insurance.

As farmers increasingly adopt cover crops, often with encouragement and technical assistance from other USDA agencies like the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a few have found their cover crops bring them into conflict with crop insurance rules.

RMA staff stressed Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's interest in expanding the use of cover crops, and innovations in cover crop usage including the planting of radishes and peas.

They also discussed the general rationale for cover crops, which is to get the maximum benefit for the cash crop from the farmer's decisions on cover crops.

RMA staff pointed out that they made changes in cover crop rules for 2010-11 and again in 2012-13; they will make more changes as they are needed.

RMA and NRCS have now set up a joint process to better communicate on these issues.