envato.com, by Alexlukin.
envato.com, by Alexlukin

Details to assist producers to put a risk management plan in place 

Persistent drought conditions continue to be a source of stress for producers, but do not let today’s problems keep you from planning for the future. We encourage you to look at hay and pasture insurance for 2024. 

For more than a decade the Risk Management Agency (RMA) has made coverage available for a lack of precipitation through the Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (PRF) insurance policy. Coverage under this federal insurance policy requires an annual selection for both new and renewal policies that need completed through a qualified agent by Dec. 1, 2023. Here are some helpful details that may assist you in putting a risk management plan in place for hay and pasture in 2024. 

What is PRF? 

PRF insurance is a customizable area-based coverage designed to protect against a lack of precipitation using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center (NOAA CPC) to interpolate rainfall for specific grid locations. Grids are not subject to geographical boundaries, rather they span across the nation regardless of county or state lines. Coverage levels range from 70 percent to 90 percent in 5 percent increments. Producers can choose a productivity factor to match the insured crop relative to the value, available as a percentage (60 percent to 150 percent) of the County Based Value determined by the RMA. Producers select at least two intervals (two-month periods) but not more than six for coverage (i.e., January-February, March-April) but the covered intervals cannot overlap. Unlike other federal crop insurance programs, it is not required to insure all eligible acres. 

How do claims work for PRF? 

Since coverage is based on the experience of the grid and not individual farms over the interval period there is no production or data to keep track of. Instead, indemnities are determined using data from multiple weather stations interpolated for the grid and index intervals insured. After the rainfall data is compiled the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) publishes the information and the insurance companies have 60 days to pay any indemnities due to policyholders. While every effort is made to use the best data, the nature of an area-based plan of insurance makes it possible to experience a loss of production and not receive an indemnity payment or receive an indemnity payment without suffering an actual loss of production.

How do I best utilize coverage?

Selecting appropriate index intervals is critical to establish effective coverage. The PRF policy is built upon many pieces of historical data and RMA has published a decision support tool that is available at public-rma.fpac.usda.gov/apps/PRF. This tool will show estimated historical payments, but we caution you from selecting coverage solely based upon that information. Using the product as an effective insurance tool means selecting coverage during months where precipitation is essential for production. Many producers misunderstand that the number of acres they are insuring are split between their selected intervals. For example, if you have 100 acres of hay insured in April-May and June-July you could select to insure 60 percent of the 100 acres in April-May and 40 percent in June-July but not all 100 acres are insured all four months. 

The premium for PRF insurance is federally subsidized for producers meeting conservation compliance status as determined by your local Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Service offices. 

To find an agent before the sign-up deadline of Dec. 1, we encourage you to look at RMA’s agent locator at public-rma.fpac.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#/. 

Hailey Rook-Chandler – FCS Financial Assistant Vice President, Insurance


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