USDA Risk Management Agency is expanding crop insurance coverage statewide for hay and pasture in the 2011 growing season.
Last year, USDA had a pilot program for hay and pasture in only 15 counties. Producers interested in 2011 crop insurance coverage of hay and pasture must sign up by Sept. 30, 2010.
The program, officially called the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage - Rainfall Index or PRF-RI, allows producers to insure their hay crop or pasture against drought. When less than normal precipitation occurs, insured producers may receive a payment based on the difference in historical data for their location and rainfall during the insured time interval.
The program is considered a group risk policy, covering livestock grazing and hay land based on a rainfall index for the area. The program uses a long-term average number for a specific area. Then, current precipitation data is used to create an index that reflects the difference. For example, if a producer insures their hay for 90 percent or less of normal rainfall, and the rainfall in May and June is only 50 percent of normal, then the producer receives a payment. No yield reporting is required, nor do loss adjusters visit the farm.
Producers must purchase crop insurance from a licensed crop insurance agent. To find one, producers should can visit the USDA RMA website for a list of registered agents at www.rma.usda.gov/ or call the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets for a list of agents working in New York State at (800) 554-5401.