Two new federal crop insurance programs — Rainfall Index and Vegetation Index — are available for pasture, rangeland and hay acres in several states for the 2007 crop year.

“The new tools will help farmers and ranchers — especially with operations in drought-impacted areas — improve their risk management capabilities,” says Ag Secretary Mike Johanns. “Designed to operate in a variety of range and pasture environments, these products use innovative technology to determine when a producer has suffered a loss.”

Hay growers and graziers aren't required to insure all their forage acres, nor do they have to insure for the full crop year. USDA's Risk Management Agency divided the year into intervals, and producers may insure only the intervals that hold the most risk.

The Rainfall Index program is available in select counties in Idaho, Colorado, North Dakota, Texas, South Carolina and Pennsylvania for next year. The Vegetation Index is available in select counties in the same states plus Oklahoma, Oregon and South Dakota.

The deadline is Nov. 30. For more information, go to www.rma.usda.gov/policies/pasturerangeforage.