Crop producers will have more time to verify their organic acreage for crop insurance under a loosened regulatory regime rolled out earlier this week by USDA’s Risk Management Agency.

RMA-approved crop insurers may allow producers to report acreage as certified organic, or transition to organic, for the 2020 crop year “if they can show they have requested a written certification from a certifying agent by their policy’s acreage reporting date.”

In a release, RMA cited “stay-at-home” orders that may be preventing “in-person crop insurance transactions” as its rationale for the decision.

“As the pandemic continues, RMA is also continuing to add more flexibilities to assist America’s farmers and ranchers,” RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said. “We will ensure that the federal crop insurance program continues to serve the needs of our nation’s producers.”

According to RMA, policyholders who have “requested but not received an organic certificate, organic plan, or other written documentation” will need to notify their insurance agent within 30 days once a certifying agent informs them of their organic plan or certificate status.

RMA also took a handful of other actions to respond to increased social distancing in the wake of the pandemic, including allowing for increased electronic report submissions, allowing for some self-certification for replant inspections, and waiving the witness signature requirement for approval of an Assignment of Indemnity.

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