RMA announces changes to dry peas, small grains crop insurance provisions

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making improvements to crop insurance to better enable agricultural producers to manage risk on their operations.  Specifically, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is adding new options for producers of dry beans, dry peas, and small grains, such as wheat.

RMA is making these changes through three Final Rules, which posted this month on the Federal Register.

“RMA is focused on how we can make crop insurance a better risk management tool for producers,” said RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy.  “This month, we’re rolling out a suite of updates based on feedback from producers and agricultural organizations that strengthen coverage options and increase consistency, clarity and flexibility.”

Dry Beans and Dry Peas

Beginning in 2022, the Dry Beans and Dry Peas regulation will:

  • Allow enterprise and optional units by type for dry beans and dry peas, preventing a gain on one type of crop from impacting an indemnity for a loss on another type.  Enterprise units by type allow a producer to insure all acres of a type in a county as one unit, as opposed to basic and optional units which may base insurance on a portion of the acreage.  Enterprise units are attractive to producers due to additional premium discounts provided given risk is diversified across the county.
  • Also, allow enterprise and optional units for dry beans to be insured by written agreement, which is consistent with current provisions for dry peas.
  • Clarify that if no insurable fall planted acreage exists, the later spring sales closing date would apply in counties that have offers for both the fall and spring-planted types.

Small Grains

Beginning in 2022, the Small Grains regulation will:

  • Allow enterprise units by type for wheat.  Similar to dry beans and dry peas, this change will prevent a gain on one type of crop from impacting an indemnity for a loss on another type.
  • Allow optional units for Khorasan type wheat.  Currently, optional units by type are available for all types insured, except for Khorasan.

“Crop insurance provides a critical risk management tool for wheat growers and today’s announcement helps provide additional coverage options in areas where both winter and spring wheat are grown,” said National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) CEO Chandler Goule. “Previously, wheat producers could only get enterprise units for wheat, but this change breaks it out by type and prevents one type of wheat from impacting payments on another. Today’s announcement is welcome news, and NAWG will continue to work with its membership and RMA to provide feedback on how crop insurance can continue to provide additional flexibility and options to protect wheat growers and help manage risk on their operations.”