Forage and livestock producers should consider using the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF) Pilot Insurance Program as a drought management tool, say Colorado State University Extension specialists. The program, based on rainfall and vegetation greenness indices, is designed to allow producers in certain counties within certain states to buy insurance protection on forage produced for grazing or harvested for hay.

The program offers two separate basic provisions – the Rainfall Index and the Vegetation Index. The Rainfall Index allows indemnities to producers when precipitation fall below a certain point. The Vegetation Index allows indemnities when vegetation greenness falls lower than a certain level.

The pilot program is available in six regions across the country: the warm and humid Southeast, the cool and humid Northeast, the Northern Great Plains, the Southern Great Plains, the semi-arid Southwest and the intermountain region of the Northwest. Click here to see the states and counties where either the Rainfall or Vegetation Index program is available.

USDA's Risk Management Agency Web site provides fact sheets, frequently asked questions, policy provisions, decision tools, and other information about the program. The “Decision Support Tool” is a nice resource to help landowners analyze the value of the insurance product, the specialists say.