Vilsack pivots, seeking new insurance and conservation incentives to boost production | 2022-05-09

The Biden administration is working on new ideas to increase agricultural production this year, including asking Congress to eliminate the planting penalty after a planting insurance claim, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said Monday. .

The Department of Agriculture is also working on administrative changes to crop insurance and conservation programs to incentivize farmers to increase production of wheat and other crops, Vilsack said. Agri Pulse, acknowledging that the president’s original proposals to boost agricultural production this year had faced opposition on Capitol Hill.

Administrative changes include increasing the number of counties where double cropping is insurable and allowing landowners whose conservation reserve program contracts expire to begin preparing acreage for planting before September 30, when contracts end.

The USDA is also considering making winter wheat plantings eligible for conservation programs where farmers are expected to plant a dedicated cover crop.

“We try to create as many concepts and ideas as possible and in the time we have, so that farmers have the ability to make some decisions on their own,” he said.

Compensation for the penalty to prevent planting would probably be the most controversial. Farmers normally only receive 35% of their Prevented Planting Compensation if they plant a crop on the same land that year.

Vilsack said the USDA is working with Congress to include funding in Ukraine’s additional spending bill to offset this penalty.

“An incentive … to offset that reduced indemnity could allow more acres to be planted,” Vilsack said. He said the USDA has provided lawmakers with technical assistance on this idea.

On April 28, President Joe Biden proposed a $33 billion Ukraine relief package that proposed to increase marketing loan rates for several products and provide an insurance incentive. $10 per acre crop to farmers who planted soybeans after a winter wheat crop.

The marketing loan expansion proved too costly once the Congressional Budget Office assessed its cost, and critics said the double-cropping incentive would have relatively little impact on acreage. . The American Soybean Association estimates that the double cropping incentive would increase plantings of wheat by 37,000 acres and soybeans by 35,000 acres.

“What we were able to do was stimulate the conversation a bit,” Vilsack said. Agri Pulse. “I think we see Congress interested in exploring the possibilities. Some of the things we suggested may not work.

Vilsack did not provide a timeline for when the USDA would make the administrative changes.

He also said he had no estimate for how much the various incentives might increase plantings.

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