The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reducing the economic risk of growing two crops on the same land in one year, making it easier for American farmers to grow food in America, increase supply food and reduce food costs for American families. This action is part of a larger whole together commitments made earlier this year by President Biden and US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to increase domestic food production amid potential global food shortages related to the invasion of Ukraine.
To reduce the risk of growing two crops on the same land in one year – a practice known as double cropping – the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is expanding double crop insurance options in nearly of 1,500 counties where double cropping is viable.
“These are difficult times, but I trust the American farmer and American agriculture to help keep the food we need affordable and available. The Biden administration and the USDA will continue to find means of ease the burden on American farmers and reduce costs for American families such as expanding double cropping options through crop insurance,” Vilsack said.
- For soybeans, double-cropping coverage will be expanded or streamlined in at least 681 counties, including all those originally targeted for review. While some additional counties were added permanently to become dual crop counties, the majority of the expansion removed barriers such as the requirement for production records and streamlined the process for obtaining personalized coverage through a written agreement.
- For grain sorghum, double cropping coverage will be expanded or streamlined in at least 870 counties initially targeted for review. Similar to soybeans, most of these changes included streamlining the administrative burden and requirements for obtaining written agreements. Written agreements provide the producer with maximum flexibility by allowing them to obtain crop insurance coverage, but not requiring spring and winter crop coverage as in permanent dual-crop counties.
- RMA will also work with the crop insurance industry and agricultural organizations to highlight the availability and improvements of written agreements as an option for any farmer growing a crop outside of the area where a policy is automatically proposed.
This expansion of dual crop coverage was guided by extensive outreach to nearly 70 grower groups spanning 28 states. This includes a wide range of stakeholders such as farmers, agents, academic extension and other agricultural experts, commodity associations, state departments of agriculture, and insurance companies. The USDA could add additional counties as it explores those options with farmers this summer, with final rules locked in by the fall. Since farmers have to plan ahead to add a winter crop to a rotation, the USDA wanted to make sure they had time to consider this option and consult with local extension and agricultural experts and their crop insurance agent.
Additional Resources published by USDA to understand Frequently Asked Questions, as good as Helping Farmers Fight Global Food Insecurity webpage on farmers.gov.
Crop insurance is sold and issued only through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA service centers and online at RMA Agent Locator. Producers can learn more about crop insurance and the modern agricultural safety net at rma.usda.gov.