USDA to defer interest on crop insurance premiums |

USDA to defer interest on crop insurance premiums

The Agriculture Department’s Risk Management Agency will continue to defer accrual of interest for 2019 crop year insurance premiums to help the wide swath of farmers and ranchers affected by extreme weather in 2019, Agriculture Undersecretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey announced Thursday at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters conference in Kansas City.

Specifically, USDA will defer the accrual of interest on 2019 crop year insurance premiums to the earlier of the applicable termination date or Jan. 31, 2020, for all policies with a premium billing date of Aug. 15, 2019.

“This extension is necessary since harvest progress has been very delayed and crop insurance claims are not typically settled until harvest is complete, squeezing cash flow even further,” Northey said.

USDA had previously announced a deferral to Nov. 30, 2019, providing producers with an additional two months from the traditional Sept. 30 date. With Thursday’s announcement, producers will have until Jan. 31, 2020, to pay the 2019 premium without accruing interest.

For any premium that is not paid by the new deadline, interest will accrue consistent with the terms of the policy.

Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a news release that the announcement came after he held an agriculture roundtable in Argusville, N.D., last week with Northey, who oversees RMA, and North Dakota producers to outline the need for additional flexibility and support for producers impacted by severe weather.

Hoeven also said he held a meeting in Minot, N.D., with RMA Administrator Martin Barbre and North Dakota producers to urge RMA to defer the interest.