Subject:: Request dated December 20, 2006, requesting a Final Agency Determination for the 2005 crop year regarding the interpretation of section 17 of the Common Crop Insurance Policy Basic Provisions (Basic Provisions),
published at 7 C.F.R. 457.8. This request is pursuant to 7 C.F.R. part 400, subpart X.
Section 1 of the Basic Provisions states, as here pertinent:
Good farming practices. The production methods utilized to produce the insured crop and
allow it to make normal progress toward maturity and produce at least the yield used to determine the
production guarantee or amount of insurance, including any adjustments for late planted acreage, which
are: (1) For conventional or sustainable farming practices, those generally recognized by agricultural
experts for the area; or (2) for organic farming practices, those generally recognized by the organic
agricultural industry for the area or contained in the organic plan. We may, or you may request us to,
contact FCIC to determine whether or not production methods will be considered to be “good farming practices.”
Prevented planting. Failure to plant the insured crop with proper equipment by the
final planting date designated in the Special Provisions for the insured crop in the county. You may also be eligible for a prevented planting payment if you failed to plant the insured crop with the proper equipment within the late planting period. You must have been prevented from planting the insured crop due to an insured cause of loss that is general in the surrounding area and that prevents
other producers from planting acreage with similar characteristics.
Section 12 of the Basic Provisions states, as here pertinent:
12. Causes of Loss.
The insurance provided is against only unavoidable loss directly caused by specific causes of loss contained in the Crop Provisions. All specified causes of loss, except where the Crop Provisions specifically cover loss of revenue due to a reduced price in the marketplace, must be due to a naturally occurring event. All other causes
of loss, including but not limited to the following, are NOT covered:
(b) Failure to follow recognized good farming practices for the insured crop;
Section 17 of the Basic Provisions states, as here pertinent:
17. Prevented Planting.
(a) Unless limited by the policy provisions, a prevented planting
payment may be made to you for eligible acreage if:
(1) You were prevented from planting the insured crop (Failure to plant when other producers in the area were planting will result in the denial
of the prevented planting claim) by the insured cause that occurs:
(2) You include any acreage of the insured crop that was prevented
from being planted on your acreage report; and
(3) You did not plant the insured crop during or after the late planting period. If such acreage was planted to the insured crop during or after the
late planting period, it is covered under the late planting provisions.
(f) Regardless of the number of eligible acres determined in section 17(e),
prevented planting coverage will not be provided for any acreage:
(9) For which you cannot provided proof that you had the inputs available to plant and produce a crop with the expectation of at least producing the yield used to determine the production guarantee or amount of insurance (Evidence that you have previously planted the crop on the unit will be considered adequate proof unless your planting practices or rotational requirements show that
the acreage would have remained fallow or been planted to another crop);
(10) Based on an irrigated practice production guarantee or amount of insurance unless adequate irrigation facilities were in place to carry out an irrigated practice on the acreage prior to the insured cause of loss that prevented you from planting. Acreage with an irrigated practice production guarantee will be limited to the
number of acres allowed for that practice under sections 17(e) and (f);
The requestor interprets section 17 of the policy provisions to be complete in itself for prevented
planting claims, and, therefore, if a producer meets the requirements for a prevented planting payment
under section 17, the prevented planting claim cannot be denied for failure to
follow good farming practices under section 12 of the Basic Provisions.
Prevented planting claims under section 17 have specific requirements, which, if met, constitute good
farming practices. One example of this is section 17(f)(9) which excludes prevented planting coverage on
any acreage for which the insured cannot provide proof that the insured had the inputs available to plant
and produce a crop with the expectation of at least producing the yield used to determine the production
guarantee or amount of insurance. A second example is the requirement in section 17(f)(10) for having
facilities in place for crops raised under an irrigated practice.
The requestor’s interpretation rests on two primary bases. Both “good farming practices” and
“prevented planting” are defined terms in section 1 of Basic Provisions. The definition of “good
farming practices” is incompatible with the definition of “prevented planting.” By its plain language,
“failure to plant with proper equipment” could not constitute “production methods utilized to produce
the insured crop.” Under section 17 of the Basic Provisions, coverage is available for prevented planting
as defined in the policy. If failure to follow good farming practices under section 12(b) is applied to
prevented planting claims, no prevented planting claim could ever be allowed.
Further, the requirements in section 17 for prevented planting are very specific, while “good farming practices” is a general term that covers largely unspecified acts. Under any insurance policy,
specific provisions are deemed to control over general provisions.
Under the requestor’s interpretation, any acreage for which the insured fails to meet the requirements in section 17 would not qualify for prevented planting; however, the “failure to follow good farming practices” provision in section 12(b) has no relationship to prevented planting claims and therefore
cannot be an additional ground for denial of prevented planting claims.
Final Agency Determination
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) disagrees with the requestor’s interpretation.
Section 508(a)(3)(A) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act expressly states that insurance cannot cover
losses due to the failure of the producer to follow good farming practices. Therefore, producers are
always required to follow good farming practices. This means that the provisions contained in section
17 of the Basic Provisions are not mutually exclusive of other applicable policy provisions. The
producer must comply with all provisions of the policy, including those related to good farming practices
The provisions contained in sections 17(f)(9) and (10) are not the only good farming practices
required. For example, there may be situations where it is possible to prepare and plant a portion of
the acreage during the planting period, either before or after an insurable cause of loss has occurred.
The producer’s failure to plant the crop when, using good farming practices, planting is possible would
constitute a failure to follow good farming practices and the producer would not be eligible for prevented
planting on such acreage.
Further, following farming practices generally recognized by agricultural experts does not mean the
producer will automatically qualify for a prevented planting payment. For example, there may be a
situation where a producer has used a particular farming practice which is generally recognized as
a good farming practice and is unable to plant the crop using that farming method. However, there
may be other farming practices that are also generally recognized as good farming practices used by
other producers in the area with acreage with similar characteristics that allow them to plant the
acreage. In such case, the
producer who did not plant would not qualify for prevented planting.
In addition, the definition of “prevented planting” states “the failure to plant the
insured crop.” (Emphasis added). This means that before the crop can qualify as
prevented planting, it must qualify as an insured crop. Section 8(b)(1) of the Basic Provisions
contains the circumstances under which a crop would not be insured, which includes a crop not grown
on planted acreage or a crop that is a type, class or variety or where the conditions under which the
crop is planted are not generally recognized for the area. These circumstances are generally referring
to good farming practices but because they occur before or at planting, they are considered factors in
insurability not an uninsured cause of loss. Further, while these provisions refer to crops that have
been planted, they are also applicable to prevented planting, except as stated therein. This means that
if a producer intended to plant a crop in a manner that would make the crop uninsurable if it was planted,
the crop is also uninsurable if the producer fails to plant it.
FCIC also disagrees that the definition of “good farming practices” is incompatible with the definition of “prevented planting.” The definition of “good farming practices”
refers to the production methods used to produce the crop and would include the preparation of the land
through the subsequent harvest of the crop. “Prevented planting” refers to the failure to plant the crop
with the proper equipment. This is consistent with the definition of “good farming practices” because it
requires the proper equipment. Further, the definition of “prevented planting” just refers to the failure
to plant. A producer is eligible for a prevented planting payment only if the producer is prevented from
planting an insured crop due to an insured peril occurring during the prevented planting insurance period
and complies with all other policy provisions. Section 12 of the Basic Provisions lists causes of loss
that are NOT covered by the policy and specifies that covered causes of loss are contained in the Crop
Provisions. A prevented planting claim will be denied if planting is prevented by any excluded cause of
loss, such as failure to follow good farming practices, or if any other applicable policy requirements are
This Final Agency Determination has referred to particular policy provisions as illustrations to support
FCIC’s position of why the provisions in section 17 of the Basic Provisions are not mutually exclusive, as
alleged by the submitter. These illustrations are not exhaustive and there may be others that are also
applicable. Each situation must be examined in light of all the
policy provisions to determine which policy provisions are applicable.
The requestor asked that the Final Agency Determination explicitly provide that the decision
is applicable to the provisions of Revenue Assurance (04-RA) since the language is identical or nearly
identical. Even though 7 C.F.R. part 400, subpart X is only applicable to provisions of the Federal
Crop Insurance Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder, and RA has not yet been codified in the
Code of Federal Regulations, to the extent these provisions are identical or nearly identical, the Final
Agency Determination applies accordingly to assure consistent, uniform, and equitable treatment to all
producers insured under the same policy provisions.
In accordance with 7 C.F.R. 400.765(c), this Final Agency Determination is binding on all
participants in the Federal crop insurance program for the 2005 crop year. Any
appeal of this decision must be in accordance with 7 C.F.R. 400.768(g).
Date of Issue: March 7, 2007