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Prevent Plant: Looking back on 2019, planning for 2020

2019 was a record year for prevent plant claims.  In some areas, up to 95% of the policies Premier works with had a prevent plant claim.  With saturated ground under foot, we need to look back at what we learned from 2019 so we know what to keep in mind for 2020.

Prevent Plant pays the policy holder for Corn ground that cannot be planted by May 31st or Soybean ground that cannot be planted by June 15th, (June 10th northern).  Standard prevent plant pays 55% of the revenue guarantee on Corn and 60% on Soybeans.  You have the option by March 15th to increase that amount by 5% providing the condition does not already exist. 

Before making the decision to claim prevent plant, there are several points to work through with your agent so we can determine how the policy will pay:

 Eligibility:  First we look at how many acres of each crop you have eligibility on.  We look at the last four years and pick out the highest number of insured acres for each crop.  This can include previously paid prevent plant acres.  Without adding any new ground to the operation, this is the maximum number of acres you can claim as prevent plant.  Example:  if you had 500 acres of corn two years ago, and that was the highest number in the last four, and you have 450 planted so far, you have 50 acres left to be paid as prevent plant.  If you have 450 planted but intended to have 600 acres of corn this year.  50 will get paid as Corn but the remaining 100 acres would have to be “rolled” and paid as soybeans or another crop on your policy that has eligibility available.  If you added new land this year, we find the “added land ratio” which is the percentage of land you added to the operation.  If you added 20%, the 500 acres of base becomes 600 so the last 100 of prevent plant corn could be paid as corn.

20/20 Rule:  The area you are claiming as prevent plant needs to be the lesser of 20 acres or 20% of the acres in the unit for that crop.  If you intended 50 acres of corn in an optional unit, you would need 10 acres of prevent plant to qualify.  If you use enterprise units and have more than 100 acres of that crop in the county, you would need to accumulate at least 20 acres to qualify.  The prevent plant acres do not need to be “contiguous” meaning, 5 hear, and 15 there will make up 20.

Field history:  Has the field being claimed as prevent plant been planted in one of the last 3 years?  If you planted the field in 2017 but it was prevent plant in 2018, and 2019, you can still claim it as prevent plant in 2020 but it will need to get planted in 2021 to re-establish eligibility.  We will also only be able to pay on the maximum acres recorded as planted.  If the FSA calls the field 25 acres but in the last 3 years, you’ve only ever been able to plant 23, we can only pay on 23. 

New Breaking land is not eligible for prevent plant as it has not been planted in the last 3 years.  Hay ground coming back into row crop can be eligible if part of a normal rotation.  CRP ground coming back into row crop can qualify but it helps if steps have been taken to prepare the ground like burn down or tillage.

Partially planted:  Once you start planting a field, your original “intentions” don’t mean anything.  You have a 25-acre field that you wanted to plant corn in.  It gets late so you decide to plant the 5 acres that is fit to soybeans.  That 25-acre field is now soybeans unless you can show a history of that two-crop planting pattern.  In that scenario, if you plant both corn and soybeans in the same field, the remaining prevent plant can be either crop.

Talking through your situation with your agent prior to making the decision to claim prevent plant can eliminate surprises later in the season when it is too late to adjust.  We don’t have to deal with prevent plant every year and every situation is so unique; we need to discuss your scenario one on one.  Your neighbor’s parameters can be completely different than yours.

Keep these things in mind as we get into spring and let’s hope that we don’t have to worry about prevent plant at all.