USDA making it easier to plant two crops on same land

Published: Jul. 19, 2022 at 7:16 PM CDT
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ADAMS COUNTY, Ill. (WGEM) - In an effort to combat rising food prices and food shortages, the USDA has announced steps to reduce the risk of double cropping.

Double cropping is the practice of planting two crops on the same land in the same year. In the Tri-States, this would most likely involve planting wheat in the Fall, harvesting in the late Spring and then planting soybeans.

The practice is more common in the Southern United States where warmer weather persists longer, but the recent USDA announcement expands double cropping insurance capabilities to more than 1500 counties across the country.

State insurance product officer Jason Gama with Compeer Financial said the USDA is taking this step so farmers can feel more comfortable taking part in double cropping, which can sometimes be a risky endeavor.

“They’re allowing this practice to be insurable, basically taking the risk out and allowing the producer to plant that soybean second crop with confidence that they’ve got protection,” said Gama.

He said there are several risk factors to producers that decide to double crop, including high input costs and the potential for extreme winter weather. That is why the rules and regulations for double cropping had been so strict.

“These double cropping requirements, which did exist already in Southern areas, there’s the insurance to purchase on the soybeans, on the second crop, protecting you against any shortfall,” said Gama.

He said the new announcement from the USDA is meant to incentivize farmers to consider the practice as they cut the red tape and make the process easier.

“We’re allowing it to be easier implemented to our Northern counties, to allow less hoops to jump through,” Gama said. “So it all comes down to basically still the producer has to have the equipment and have the means to be able to plant wheat and then follow it with soybeans.”

In addition to the soybean double cropping, USDA maps show there are also opportunities to double crop using Sorghum in Adams, Pike (IL) and Ralls counties.

Gama said the process is still in the initial stages, with the USDA’s Risk Management Agency expected to announce more detailed guidelines and regulations in the coming months.

You can find the maps showing the insurance coverage area expansion for soybeans and sorghum by clicking here.

More information about the USDA announcement can be found here.

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