Prairie Pothole Region Map US Geographic Survey

Prairie Pothole Region Map
US Geographic Survey

…for acres found in the Prairie Pothole National Priority Area, which extends to regions of Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. 

Beginning in 2014, acres planted in the Prairie Pothole region will be eligible for prevented planting payments if those acres were planted in at least one out of the last four years.  The acres are eligible even if one or more of those four years was abnormally dry.  USDA: RMA Clarifies Prevented Planting Standards in Prairie Pothole Region. 

The 2013 rule prohibits prevented planting payments for acres in the Prairie Pothole region, where normal area “weather and other conditions” would have prevented planting.  Simply put, you can’t collect prevented planting on acres which under normal weather conditions you would not have been able to plant anyway.  USDA Memorandum: 2012 Prevented Planting Eligibility in Prairie Pothole National Priority Area.  

Determining “normal” weather and other conditions for an area can be very subjective and open to interpretation.  Producers in the Prairie Pothole regions have pushed the RMA to create a more objective determination for acres eligible for prevented planting since recent dry spells have opened up tillable acres in areas where it was normally too wet.

The Prairie Pothole National Priority Area was created when glaciers left thousands of shallow depressions (potholes) as they receded from the northern prairies of Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana. The potholes normally fill up with snowmelt and spring rains to create seasonal wetlands making farming difficult if not impossible during normal weather conditions.     

While Prairie Pothole farmers won’t have to worry what constitute “normal” conditions in determining eligibility for a prevented planting payments, there is always a catch.  If the farmer is unable to plant and harvest a crop in at least one of the four most recent crop years, the land will only be eligible if the farmer can plant and harvest a crop two years in a row.   

Farming in the Prairie Pothole region comes with its own unique challenges and specifications regarding crop insurance.  Contact your local crop insurance agent for any questions regarding your coverage.   

To see whether your county falls in the Prairie Pothole National Priority Area, check out this USDA Map.