What is in this article?:
- Crop insurance likely a key component of new farm bill
- Current program is "really working"
- Risk Management Agency services
"When we talk to folks in Washington, it seems to be their message that crop insurance is going to be the part of the commodity title that is most likely going to be maintained and not touched, while direct payments is the part that is most likely going to be most at risk in terms of continuation in the future,” says Keith Coble, professor of agricultural economics at Mississippi State University.
Risk Management Agency services
Mike Davis, deputy director of USDA’s Jackson, Miss., Risk Management Agency regional office, which serves Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee, says there are now 10 regional RMA offices nationwide.
There are three major divisions of the agency:
• The Product Management Division in Kansas City, Mo., which is primarily responsible for overseeing product develop — “they write the insurance policies, loss adjustment procedures, and all procedures associated with delivery of the programs. They also have overall responsibility for the actuarial filing process, which includes the rating process, and they’re responsible for evaluation of new products.”
• The Compliance Division, which is responsible for compliance with program provisions by both producers and insurance companies writing the policies. There are six regional compliance offices in the U.S.
• The Insurance Services Division, which is responsible for program delivery, managing contracts between RMA and companies writing crop insurance, and for local program administration and support.
“Some of our responsibilities in the Jackson office,” Davis says, “include identifying and rating land that is considered high risk — in this region, that is primarily land that’s in the flood plain and susceptible to substantial flooding during the crop year.
“We also handle requests for changes in the actuarial, or written agreement, process. These include high risk land exceptions, coverage of land that’s considered new breaking, and extending coverage to crops for which there currently is no insurance program. Last year, we processed over 2,600 of these requests.”
The office is also responsible for carrying out functions associated with the filing process, Davis says, including T-yields; review and concurrence of rates issued by the Product Management Division; and establishing program dates, such as final planting dates.
“We’re also involved in the loss claims process; responsible for good farming practices determinations, which is basically an appeals process; collecting disaster information, as with the 2011 flooding; and education and outreach activities and resources.”