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John Shea, 202-690-0437

RMA CLARIFIES PREVENTED PLANTING RULES IN AFTERMATH OF SEVERE FLOODING

WASHINGTON, DC, Jun 14, 2011 - Heavy rainfall and flood conditions across the upper Midwest and Northern Plains have slowed or stopped planting in many areas this spring. In addition, many closed drainage basins (such as Devils Lake in North Dakota) continue to rise, with water flooding more and more cropland acres in these areas. Because of the situation, the USDA Risk Management Agency has received requests from state officials to make an exception to the policy provisions for prevented planting for producers in affected areas.

While Federal crop insurance provides prevented planting coverage for weather events occurring within the insurance period, coverage is unavailable for events occurring outside the insurance period. Many farmers have benefited from prevented planting coverage during this wet spring. However, acreage which is flooded due to weather events occurring outside the insurance period, such as rains in previous crop years which leave wet conditions on the land continuously, is not eligible for prevented planting coverage. William Murphy, Administrator of the Risk Management Agency, reminds individuals facing such situations that the Federal Crop Insurance Act does not offer prevented planting coverage in these cases.

"Our hearts go out to all of those affected by the flooding in all of these areas," Murphy said.

The Federal Crop Insurance Act provides coverage for distinct periods of time based upon the occurrence of the cause of loss and the date the policyholder purchased a crop insurance policy. Acreage that continues to be flooded due to prior weather events beyond the 2-year period provided in the statute is not eligible for a continued prevented planting payment because under normal weather conditions it remains indefinitely flooded, or too wet to plant, throughout the final and late planting period. The Common Crop Insurance Policy addresses this statutory limitation.

However, the crop insurance policy is a contract between the policyholder and the insurance company and is reinsured by the Federal crop insurance Corporation. The provisions of the policy may not be waived or varied in any way by RMA, nor by crop insurance companies. Insurance is provided only to protect against unavoidable, natural events occurring within the insurance period.

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