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Hoeven: USDA Defers Interest on 2019 Crop Insurance Premiums
USAgNet - 11/15/2019

Senator John Hoeven Thursday announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) will defer the accrual of interest for 2019 crop year insurance premiums. Specifically, for producers with crop insurance policies with a premium billing date of August 15, 2019, USDA will defer the accrual of interest on premiums to the termination date or January 31, 2020, whichever is earlier. This increased flexibility means that producers will now have until January 31, 2020 to pay their 2019 premium without accruing interest.

RMA made the announcement to help the wide swath of farmers and ranchers affected by extreme weather in 2019. Specifically, USDA will defer the accrual of interest on 2019 crop year insurance premiums to the earlier of the applicable termination date or January 31, 2020, for all policies with a premium billing date of August 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.

Bill Northey, USDA's under secretary for farm production and conservation and former Iowa secretary of agriculture, made the announcement at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters' conference in Kansas City.

"USDA is committed to helping farmers and ranchers impacted by the weather challenges this year, and we hope this deferral will help ease cash flow challenges for producers, many of whom are caught in a very delayed harvest," Northey said.

Last week, Hoeven held an agriculture roundtable with USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey, who oversees RMA, and North Dakota producers to outline the need for additional flexibility and support for producers impacted by severe weather. Additionally, on Monday, Hoeven held a meeting in Minot with the RMA Administrator Martin Barbre and North Dakota producers to urge RMA to provide producers with this much needed assistance.

"We made the case for this additional flexibility during our meetings with Under Secretary Northey and RMA Administrator Barbre and North Dakota producers," said Hoeven. "We appreciate USDA for extending this deferral given the cash flow issues facing our producers. We continue working with USDA to provide assistance under MFP and WHIP+ as soon as possible, which will help farmers maintain their operations as they recover from a delayed harvest and other impacts."

Thursday's announcement builds on Hoeven's work as the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee Chairman to provide strong funding for the federal crop insurance program, along with a second round of trade assistance through the Market Facilitation Program (MFP). Hoeven also ensured that the disaster relief legislation Congress passed in May was forward-looking to provide coverage for disasters throughout 2019 and supported the State of North Dakota's request for a Secretarial disaster designation, which makes producers in 47 counties automatically eligible for assistance under the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+).

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