WASHINGTON – The Biden Administration on Tuesday announced additional steps to support U.S. farmers in their work to stabilize food prices and feed Americans and the world amidst continuing challenges, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruptions and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is reducing the economic risk of raising two crops on the same land in one year, making it easier for U.S. farmers to grow food in America, increase food supply, and lower food costs for American families. This action is part of a broader set of commitments made earlier this year by President Biden and Secretary Vilsack to increase domestic food production amid potential global food shortages related to the invasion of Ukraine.
To reduce the risk of raising two crops on the same land in one year – a practice known as double cropping - USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is expanding double crop insurance opportunities in over 1,500 counties where double cropping is viable.
“In May, I joined President Biden at the O’Connor farm in Kankakee, Illinois, to announce a series of actions to help farmers do what they do — grow food for American families and the rest of the world. Today, USDA is making good on one of those commitments and making it easier to plant double crops and sharing some of the financial risk by making crop insurance more available in over 1,500 counties,” said Secretary Vilsack. “We live in a challenging time, but I put my trust in the American farmer and U.S. agriculture to help keep the food we need affordable and available. The Biden administration and USDA will continue to find ways to ease burdens on American farmers and lower costs for American families such as expanded double crop options through crop insurance.”
- For soybeans, double crop coverage will be expanded to or streamlined in at least 681 counties, including all of those that were initially targeted for review. While some additional counties were permanently added to be double crop counties, the majority of expansion removed barriers such as requiring production records and streamlined the process to get personalized coverage through a written agreement.
- For grain sorghum, double crop coverage will be expanded to or streamlined in at least 870 counties that were initially targeted for review. Similar to soybeans, most of these changes included streamlining the administrative burden and requirements to obtain written agreements. Written agreements provide the producer with the maximum flexibility by allowing them to obtain crop insurance coverage, but not requiring the coverage of both the spring and winter crops as in permanent double crop counties.
- RMA will also work with the crop insurance industry and farm organizations to highlight the availability and improvements in written agreements as an option for any farmer that grows a crop outside the area where a policy is automatically offered.
This expansion of coverage was guided by extensive outreach to nearly 70 grower groups covering 28 states. This includes a wide array of stakeholders such as producers, agents, university extension and other agricultural experts, commodity associations, state departments of agriculture and insurance companies. USDA may add additional counties as it explores these options with farmers this summer, with the final rules being locked in by the fall. Since farmers need to plan ahead for adding a winter crop to a rotation, USDA wanted to make sure they had time to consider this option and consult with local extension and agriculture experts and their crop insurance agent.
Additional resources released today by USDA include frequently asked questions as well as the Helping Farmers Address Global Food Insecurity webpage on farmers.gov.
Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator. Producers can learn more about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net at rma.usda.gov.