Minnesota farmer excited to have more cover crop flexibility

A farmer and crop adjustor in south-central Minnesota is excited to have more freedom to manage cover crops thanks to the 2018 Farm Bill.

Rochelle Krusemark of Trimont tells Brownfield former USDA termination guidelines presented major roadblocks for farmers concerned about maintaining federal crop insurance eligibility.

“You don’t have to terminate the cover crop at the date of planting, (instead) it’s going by Best Management Practices. Which basically means that you don’t have to terminate the crop the day you plant. If the cover crop isn’t interfering with your cash crop you have insured, you can leave it for a while.”

The updated guidelines now task the Risk Management Agency with reviewing cover crop management practices under Good Farming Practice determinations, similar to how RMA oversees fertilizer, seeding rate, and pest management.

Krusemark says the added flexibility is welcome.

“We know that sometimes there are benefits (to leaving cover crops out longer). Not only weed control, but it protects the crop a little bit.”

She says an example of that is when cover crops take up excessive moisture, it helps prevent soybean plants from drowning. 

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