A Wellness Warrior Kansas farmer fought for better cover crop regulations...and won

Sustainable farming has been a practice farmers turn to in response to industrial farming. It’s a way to continue to harvest and cultivate crops and animal products with as little environmental impact as possible. Kansan Gail Fuller is an avid farmer with wide recognition in the farming community. His environmentally friendly techniques allow 2,000 acres of land to thrive.


Photo credit via Dave Leaker. 

Ensia, a non-profit environment focused magazine, reporter, Kristin Ohlsen, said, "the insurance company withheld a six-figure payout and canceled coverage on some of Fuller's fields." 

However, sustainability hit a snag when his insurance company decided to cancel coverage on parts of his field. Why? Cover crops—used by farmers like Fuller to protect and rejuvenate their soil and land in between major plantings—face federal insurance restrictions if they cannot be eradicated. Bad weather prevented farmer Fuller from clearing some fields.

Regulations on cover crops are set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). Fuller went to court and had to fight RMA to gain coverage. He won his coverage by arguing that if bad weather interferes with the utilization of cover crops then insurance companies are not allowed to label it as interplanting. The case was an opportunity to address other cover crop regulations that have the potential to harm future yields and insurance coverage.  This may be the impetus the RMA needs to rewrite cover crop rules and avoid sticky situations like Fuller’s.


 Read all stories by Marissa Ochoa

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