USDA to Defer Interest Accrual on Unpaid Crop Insurance Premiums

Margy Eckelkamp ( Margy Eckelkamp )

USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) Thursday said it will defer accrual of interest for all agricultural producers’ spring 2019 crop year insurance premiums to the earlier of the applicable termination date or for two months, until November 30, for all policies with a premium billing date of August 15, 2019. The agency said they hope this will help the wide swath of farmers and ranchers affected by extreme weather in 2019.

“USDA recognizes that farmers and ranchers have been severely affected by the extreme weather challenges this year,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “I often brag about the resiliency of farmers but after a lifetime in the business, I have to say that this year is one for the record books. To help ease the burden on these folks, we are continuing to extend flexibility for producers with today’s announcement.”

Crop insurance premiums are one of the largest operative costs for producers, the agency said in their release.  Without the interest deferral, policies with an August 15 premium billing date would have interest attached starting October 1 if premiums were not paid by September 30. Now, under the change policies that do not have the premium paid by November 30 will have interest attached on December 1, calculated from the date of the premium billing notice.

“This administrative flexibility is not unprecedented but is a move RMA takes seriously and only under special circumstances like we’re experiencing today,” RMA Administrator Martin Barbre added. “Growers typically have some crop harvested and cash flow to make their billing date, but with so many late planted crops, this year will be an anomaly.”