Washington, USA, 31 August 2006: The U.S. Department of Agriculture has made available two new risk management tools for pasture, rangeland and forage in a select group of states for a pilot program, beginning with the 2007 crop year. The rainfall index insurance program and the vegetation index insurance program, offered by USDA’s Risk Management Agency, will allow livestock producers to purchase insurance protection for losses of forage.
“These new insurances tools will help farmers and ranchers, especially with operations located in drought-impacted areas, to improve their risk management capabilities,” said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns. “Designed to operate in a variety of range and pasture environments, these products utilize innovative technology to determine when a producer has suffered a loss.”
The rainfall index program will be tested in 220 counties in Colorado, Idaho, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, North Dakota and Texas. The vegetation index insurance program will be tested in 110 counties in Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and South Dakota and is based on satellite imagery as a means to measure expected production losses.
“All pilot programs have the ability to be converted to an authorized program once they prove themselves financially sound,” said Bill Ufer, a farm and crop insurance specialist with Virginia Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Co. “If that happens this has the ability to be expanded to the state of Virginia, then our counties would be named to the program and farmers in those counties would have the ability to purchase it.”
More detailed information about the pilot programs is available at: www.rma.usda.gov/policies/pasturerangeforage.