All High Plains livestock producers should sign up for pasture, rangeland and forage crop insurance by the Sept. 30 deadline, says DeDe Jones, Texas AgriLife Extension Service risk management specialist.

“Once that is done, they have 45 days (until Nov. 15) to evaluate its potential before they commit any of their acreage,” she says. “Given the forecast, it could be an excellent tool to manage the potential risk in the upcoming year.” Premiums aren’t due until July 1.

Offered in a pilot program the past five years, the policy is designed to give livestock producers the ability to buy insurance protection that covers losses of forages produced for grazing or hay production. Those who participated in the program last year received several insurance payments that helped offset income shortages, Jones says.

Payment is not determined by individual damages, but by area losses based on a grid system. Buyers can select any portion of acres to insure, but they must also choose a minimum of two two-month intervals or a maximum of six two-month intervals per year.

Coverage levels between 70% and 90% are available. Once coverage is selected, the producer chooses a protection factor between 60% and 150%. The protection factor is a percentage of the established base value for forage. The base value is a standard rate published by the Risk Management Agency for each county. It’s calculated based on the estimated per-acre cost of grazing.

Texas uses a rainfall index to determine the insurance coverage, Jones says. That index uses National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association Climate Prediction Center data and a 12-by-12-mile grid system.

“Indemnities are calculated based on the deviation from normal precipitation within an area for a specific period selected,” she says.

A decision-support tool to help producers determine coverage levels and intervals can be found at agforceusa.com/rma/ri/prf/dst . For more information about the insurance and how it fits into a risk management plan, contact Jones at 806-677-5600 or dljones@ag.tamu.edu .