WASHINGTON – Corn farmers who “split apply” nitrogen will soon have another option for insurance coverage. Beginning in crop year 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) will offer the Post Application Coverage Endorsement (PACE) in certain states for non-irrigated corn, providing coverage for producers who use this practice that is considered better for natural resources and saves money for producers.

To“split-apply” nitrogen, growers make multiple fertilizer applications during the growing season rather than providing all of the crop’s nitrogen requirements with a single treatment before or during planting. The PACE will provide payments for the projected yield lost when producers are unable to apply the in-season nitrogen application.

“USDA is committed to building insurance options that encourage use of practices that are better for the environment and for producers’ bottom lines,” said RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy. “We are able to offer the PACE thanks to the cooperation of our partners, including the Illinois Corn Growers Association, National Corn Growers Association, Ag-Analytics Technology Company and Meridian Institute.”

“Split application” of nitrogen can lead to lower input costs as well as helps prevent runoff or leaching of nutrients into waterways and groundwater. This is because it is used in more targeted amounts over multiple applications, rather than one large application.

This new crop insurance option builds upon RMA’s efforts to encourage use of conservation practices, including cover crops. For example, RMA recently providedpremium support for producers who planted cover cropsto help offset impacts from the pandemic. Meanwhile, RMA recently updated policy to allow producers with crop insurance tohay, graze or chop cover cropsat any time and still receive 100% of the prevented planting payment. This policy change supports use of cover crops, which can help producers build resilience to drought.

The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board approved the PACE recently, and RMA will share additional details later this year. The sales closing date for the endorsement will be the same as the producer’s underlying corn policy.

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