Expanding Insurance Availabiltiy

By listening, learning, and pilot-testing new or expanded insurance options, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) continues to ensure that a critical safety net for modern agriculture, federal crop insurance, is available for the greatest number of farmers and ranchers, including: beginning farmers and ranchers, organic producers, direct market producers, livestock producers, and specialty producers. RMA’s innovative insurance options, such as those listed below, help promote sustainable growth for the industry, support crop diversification, and most importantly, keep farmers and ranchers on their land.

Find a crop insurance agent to discuss available options.

Adverse Weather Protections for Specialty Crop Growers

To protect against adverse weather conditions, RMA expanded insurance coverage for fresh fruit, nut and vegetable growers who may elect the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion to cover crops in select counties, beginning with the 2016 crop year.

SCO is new area-based policy endorsement that can be purchased to supplement an underlying crop insurance policy. It covers a portion of losses not covered by the same crop's underlying policy deductible. The amount of SCO coverage depends on the liability, overage level, and approved yield of your underlying policy. SCO may not be available in ever county. Please view the SCO Fact Sheet for additional information.

The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers, with qualifying crops in eligible counties, to exclude low yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occurs) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. Crop years are eligible when the average per planted acreage yield for the county was at least 50 percent below the simple average for the previous 10 consecutive crop years. It will allow eligible producers to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.

Producers also have access to new online tools designed to help them determine the options that work best for their operations. The Crop Insurance Decision Tool and the SCO/APH Yield Exclusion mapping tool, available online, provide farmers with information on APH Yield Exclusion and SCO eligible crops, crop years, and counties where they may elect the programs. This user-friendly resource can help producers quickly explore and understand available coverage options. Users will get general estimates to help them make purchasing decisions. Producers should consult their crop insurance agent for detailed information, sales closing dates and an actual premium quote.

Organic Price Elections

RMA continues to expand organic price elections. Organic premium price elections now exist for the majority of crops insured by the Risk Management Agency, up from 4 crops in the 2011 crop year. By increasing the number of crops with organic price premiums, organic producers have new opportunities to obtain higher revenue protection or higher yield protection crop insurance policies.

Using the contract price option, certified organic or transitioning producers, who have a written contract from a buyer by the acreage reporting date, have the ability to insure their crop at the contract price. This option is available for the majority of insurable crops. The contract price option allows producers who receive a contract price for their crop to get a crop insurance guarantee that is more reflective of the actual value of their crop. Where available, producers will be able to use their personal contract price as their price election, or to choose existing crop insurance price elections.

Please view the Organics Farming Fact Sheet for additional information.

Livestock Producer Protections

Livestock producers who utilize Whole-Farm Revenue Protection will be able to insure up to $1 million worth of animals and animal products. Under this protection, RMA also helps expanding farms by increasing the historical revenue cap for expanding operations to 35 percent from its previous 10 percent. WFRP’s flexibility permits farms the opportunity to cover their growth in the insurance guarantee.

Ranchers may also protect against loss of forage produced for feeding livestock by using the Rainfall Index Pasture, Rangeland, Forage pilot (PRF) program, available in all 48 contiguous states beginning with the 2016 crop year. Livestock producers have until Nov. 15, 2015, to sign up for coverage.

PRF is an area-based plan of insurance that uses a rainfall index to determine losses and trigger indemnities. It is important for ranchers and farmers to understand that payments are not based on individual rain gauges on their farm or a single weather station. Online tools are available to assist producers to determine how well the program correlated with their past forage production on the RMA PRF Web page.

Margin Protection

RMA is offering a new crop insurance coverage option that provides producers with coverage against an unexpected decrease in their operating margin. Starting in the 2016 crop year, the new Margin Protection (MP) plan will be available in addition to underlying crop insurance policies in select counties starting for corn, rice, soybeans, and spring wheat.

The plan provides coverage that is based on an expected margin, which is the expected area revenue minus the expected area operating costs, for each applicable crop, type and practice. Margin protection is area-based coverage and may not necessarily reflect a producer’s individual experience. The margin protection plan can be purchased by itself, or in conjunction with Yield Protection or Revenue Protection policy.

Margin protection will be available for rice in select Arkansas, California, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Texas counties. Coverage is available for spring wheat in select Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota counties. Corn and soybeans in all Iowa counties will be eligible for margin protection insurance.

A producer may choose coverage from 70 percent to 90 percent of their expected margin. A higher level of coverage will have a higher premium rate. The catastrophic (CAT) level of coverage is not available under this policy. Please view the MP Fact Sheet or Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

Whole-Farm Protection

RMA’s innovative Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) allows producers, who previously had limited access to a risk management safety net, to now insure all of their farm’s commodities at one time. This coverage encourages crop diversity on the farm, which directly supports the production of a wider variety of food. As the first crop insurance policy available nationwide, WFRP is tailored for any farm with up to $8.5 million in insured revenue, including farms with specialty or organic commodities (both crops and livestock), or those marketing to local, regional, farm-identity preserved, specialty, or direct markets.

To make participation easier for more beginning farmers and ranchers, RMA reduced the required records from five to three historical years, plus farming records from the past year. Additionally, any beginning farmer and rancher may qualify by using the former farm operator's federal farm tax records if the beginning farmer or rancher assumes at least 90 percent of the farm operation.

And to address expanding operations, RMA increased the cap on historical revenue to 35 percent from its previous 10 percent to better allow growing farms the opportunity to cover their growth in the insurance guarantee.

RMA’s Whole-Farm Revenue Protection pilot program was introduced for a majority of counties in the 2015 insurance year. Starting with the 2016 insurance year, the new program will be available in all counties in the United States, a first for the federal crop insurance program. Please view the WFRP Fact Sheet and Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

Contact Information

Find a crop insurance agent to discuss available options.

Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator.

For more information, contact RMA Public Affairs