New Insurance Programs Target Forages
New federal risk management tools targeting pasture, rangeland and forage production will help offset losses during

drought, say USDA officials.

The rainfall and vegetation index insurance programs are offered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency and co-developed

by Texas Ag Experiment Station rangeland researchers. They will be available through approved insurance providers.

"These new insurance tools will help farmers and ranchers, especially with operations located in drought-impacted

areas, to improve their risk-management capabilities," says Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. "Designed to

operate in a variety of range and pasture environments, these products utilize innovative technology to determine

when a pro-ducer has suffered a loss."

The two programs were expected to become available by early September, with a closing date of Nov. 30.

The rainfall index program will be tested in 220 counties in Colorado, Idaho, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North

Da-kota and Texas. Rainfall indices will be used as a means to measure expected production losses.

The vegetation index will be tested in 110 counties in Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and

South Dakota. The program is based on satellite imagery that determines the greenness value of the range, helping

analyze range condition as a means to measure expected production losses.

Together, the programs will provide coverage to approximately 160 million of the 640 million acres of grazing and

hay land in the U.S.

“These products were designed to allow maximum flexibility for the producer,” says Wayne Hamilton, Texas Ag

Ex-periment Station rangeland specialist. “Producers are not required to insure all acres, but cannot exceed the

total number of grazing or haying acres they operate.”

Each producer will be asked to make several choices when insuring production, including coverage level, index

inter-vals, productivity factor and number of acres. Producers will work with crop insurance agents to view map and

index grids for their areas and assign acreage to one or more grids based on location and use of insured acreage.

More information can be found at www.rma.usda.gov/policies/pasturerangeforage/.