USDA's Risk Management Agency has issued a press release announcing an expansion of the crop insurance program to address losses due to severe weather.
Among the changes, RMA has broadened the options for farmers who select the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) or the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion.
SCO is a county-level policy endorsement that covers a portion of the deductible of the underlying crop insurance policy. RMA is using yield data reported by insured producers, which allows SCO to be offered in more areas, and allows for more practice-specific insurance coverage to be offered.
SCO will now be available for alfalfa seed, canola, cultivated wild rice, dry peas, forage production, grass seed, mint, oats, onions, potatoes and rye in select counties for the 2016 crop year. It will also be expanded to additional counties for barely and winter wheat. SCO was first made available for the 2015 crop year for barley, corn, soybeans, cotton, cottonseed, rice, sorghum and wheat.
The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers, with qualifying crops in eligible counties, to exclude low yields in exceptionally bad years (such as a year in which a natural disaster or other extreme weather occurs) from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. Crop years are eligible when the average per planted acreage yield for the county was at least 50 percent below the simple average for the previous 10 consecutive crop years. It will allow eligible producers to receive a higher approved yield on their insurance policies through the federal crop insurance program.