A pilot insurance program for growers of alfalfa hybrid seed has recently become a permanent insurance program through the federal crop insurance program.
Dave Paul, Director of the RMA Spokane Regional Office, told DTN the Risk Management Agency has run the alfalfa hybrid seed insurance program as a pilot program since 2002. The pilot program covered 27,700 acres of land and $27.9 million in liability in 2013.
“The purpose of the pilot program was to see if the new program would work,” he said. “It was determined that the program does work and the agency decided to convert it to a full-pledged program.”
The pilot program proved there was interest in hybrid alfalfa seed insurance that was not covered under the standard insurance program, Paul said. Individuals wanting to insure their hybrid alfalfa insurance had to contact the RMA office and get coverage via a written agreement for each individual.
Now, with the insurance program being made permanent, the rules allow farmers to insure their hybrid alfalfa seed without an individual written agreement.
Recently, RMA announced the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board of Directors approved the conversion to make the program permanent beginning with the 2015 crop year.
The program will be offered to alfalfa hybrid seed growers in California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Paul explained that those states are generally where the bulk of forage seed is grown.
The deadline for sign-ups for 2015 crops is September 30, 2014 for Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming; and October 31, 2014 for California, Nevada and Utah.
Paul advised growers to contact their local crop insurance agent well ahead of the deadline if considering using the alfalfa hybrid seed insurance program. He encouraged them to bring in records such as yields, production history, etc. to the meeting with the insurance agent.
“The agent can help farmers look at all the options available under the policy and help them make appropriate decisions before signing up,” he said. “Making sure they have adequate risk management for crops is an important thing to do.”
A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA service centers in the U.S., or is available on the RMA website www3.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents.
Paul said that he hopes that all farmers are aware that the program is now available.
“I’d hate to have someone have a bad year and then find out they could have had insurance,” he said.
“I really encourage growers to look at the specifics of how the program works between now and the deadlines,” he said. “That way they can get some idea of premium costs and make informed decisions between now and next year’s crop.”