USDA enacting beefed-up crop insurance through 2014 Farm Bill - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

USDA enacting beefed-up crop insurance through 2014 Farm Bill

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday it is continuing to implement provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that will expand insurance coverage options for farmers and ranchers.

One new provision is the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO). It is administered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA), available through the federal crop insurance program and scheduled to kick in with the 2015 crop year.

"America's agricultural producers work hard to produce a sufficient amount of safe and nutritious food for the country," US Agriculture Secretary and former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack said. "It's critical that they have crop insurance options to effectively manage risks and ensure that they do not lose everything due to events beyond their control. Following the 2014 Farm Bill signing, USDA has made it a priority to ensure the Supplemental Coverage Option was available to help farmers in this upcoming crop year."

The 2014 Farm Bill provides more risk management options for farmers and ranchers. It is also making crop insurance more affordable for beginning farmers.

The new Supplemental Coverage Option will be available in selected counties for corn, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat and winter wheat. The USDA encourages producers to contact their crop insurance agents to discuss eligibility.

Eventually, the RMA plans on making SCO more widely available by adding more counties and crops. More information on the SCO is HERE: www.rma.usda.gov

SCO is a county-level policy endorsement that comes in addition to an underlying crop insurance policy. It covers part of losses not covered by the same crop's underlying policy, the USDA says. Producers who choose to participate in Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC), which is offered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA), are not eligible for SCO for the crop and farm participating in ARC.

However, producers applying for SCO for the 2015 winter wheat crop may still withdraw coverage on any farm where they have chosen or intend to choose ARC for winter wheat by the earlier of either their acreage reporting date or Dec. 15, without penalty. This allows those producers extra time to decide whether to participate in either the ARC or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for their winter wheat crop. If producers withdraw SCO coverage for a farm by the earlier of either their acreage reporting date or Dec. 15, they won't be charged a crop insurance premium, the USDA says. However, producers must tell their insurance agents their intended election for ARC by the earlier of either their winter wheat acreage reporting date or Dec. 15.

Other provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill include providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers, beefing up risk management tools, expanding access to rural credit, funding research and investing in infrastructure.

More information on the bill is available HERE: www.usda.gov/farmbill.

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