A pilot program providing insurance to alfalfa seed farmers will be made permanent policy for the 2015 crop year in specific counties in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, announces USDA’s Risk Management Agency.

Begun in 2002, the pilot program covered 27,700 acres and $27.9 million in liability in 2013.

In Wyoming and Montana, more than 9,500 acres were covered with liability at $8.66 million. The permanent policy will be available to growers in Big Horn and Park counties in Wyoming and Big Horn County in Montana. For Idaho, Oregon and Washington, 6,963 acres were insured with $4.8 million in liability. Canyon and Owyhee counties in Idaho, Malheur County in Oregon and Grant and Walla Walla counties in Washington will be made part of the permanent program.

“Crop insurance is a proven method to provide producers with a production safety net, and we are excited the pilot was successful and the Alfalfa Seed program was made permanent,” says Dave Paul, director of the RMA Spokane regional office.

“One thing we learned during the pilot is the need for insurance for hybrid protection. With this program change, coverage will also now be available to those growers contracting for production of hybrid alfalfa seed in the Spokane region.”

Producers should visit their insurance agents for more information. If coverage is not generally available in their counties, they may be eligible for coverage under a written agreement, according to an RMA press release.

For a list of crop insurance agents, visit USDA service centers or the RMA website.