Written by M. Sean High—Staff Attorney
On June 30, 2016, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) published notice in the Federal Register of a final rule completing “changes to the General Administrative Regulations—Ineligibility for Programs under the Federal Crop Insurance Act, the Catastrophic Risk Protection Endorsement, the Area Risk Protection Insurance Regulations, and the Common Crop Insurance Regulations, Basic Provisions” (81 FR 42453).
According to a press release issued by USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), the published final rule “completes provisions such as enterprise units for irrigated and non-irrigated crops, adjustment in actual production history to establish insurable yields, crop production on native sod, beginning farmer and rancher provisions, coverage levels by practice, and the authority to correct errors.” RMA stated that the changes issued under the final rule were the result of the 2014 Farm Bill which mandated that USDA “make some changes that would strengthen the safety net [the agency] provide[s] for America’s farmers and ranchers.”
According to the Federal Register, USDA received 364 comments from 74 commenters (including academics, farmers, trade associations and others) regarding an interim rule published July 1, 2014. As a result of these comments, USDA stated that RMA made changes to the final rule dealing with native sod so as to provide clarity regarding “an exception that allows producers to break up to five acres of native sod and not receive reduced premium subsidy on coverage of native sod acreage.” According to RMA, “[a]ll other provisions of the final rule remain unchanged.