WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency has announced it will authorize Approved Insurance Providers to extend deadlines for premium and administrative fee payments, defer the resulting interest accrual and allow other flexibility to help farmers, ranchers, and insurance providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“USDA recognizes farmers and ranchers have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic this year, and to help ease the burden on these folks, we are continuing to extend flexibility for producers,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement. “The flexibilities announced today support health and safety while also ensuring the Federal crop insurance program continues to serve as a vital risk management tool.”

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., who chairs the Senate Ag Appropriations Committee, said the move will help producers manage cash flow.

“Our producers need flexibility and support to manage their operations during this public health emergency, and I appreciate the administration for easing the payment timeline for crop insurance, which will help ensure farmers don’t face increased costs,” he said in a statement.

The USDA is authorizing AIPs to provide policyholders additional time to pay premium and administrative fees and to waive accrual of interest to the earlier of 60 days after their scheduled payment due date or the termination date on policies with premium billing dates between Aug. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020. In addition, USDA is authorizing AIPs to provide up to an additional 60 days for policyholders to make payment and waive additional interest for Written Payment Agreements due between Aug. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2020.

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Farmers with crop insurance questions or needs should continue to contact their insurance agents about conducting business remotely (by telephone or email). More information can be found at .

Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private insurance agents. A list of insurance agents is available online using the RMA Agent Locator at https://rma.usda.gov/Information-Tools/Agent-Locator-Page. Learn more about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net at rma.usda.gov.