Agriculture producers in Texas have until Nov. 15 to opt into the 2013 Pasture, Rangeland Forage Crop Insurance program (PRF), which provides an additional risk management opportunity for voluntary participants.

The USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) program is intended to help producers who suffered production losses as a result of rainfall shortages to sustain pasture and rangeland forage crops in any given year.

The original PRF program was designed as a risk management tool for the 588 million acres of pastureland and the 61.5 million acres of hayland in the United States. In 2007, the program was available for testing in selected states. The program was expanded and revised in 2009.

The Risk Management Agency has replaced its Group Risk Plan Basic Provisions with the Rainfall Index and Vegetation Index Basic Provisions. The new basic provisions will be applied to all PRF crop policies.  For Texas producers, the overall program is based on rainfall indices and designed to give forage and livestock producers the ability to buy insurance protection for losses of forage produced for grazing or harvested for hay.

The Rainfall Indexuses National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center (NOAA CPC) data and each grid is 0.25 degrees in latitude by 0.25 degrees in longitude (12 x 12 mile grid). Producers must select at least two, two-month time periods where rain is important to their operation in the area. These time periods are called index intervals. Insurance payments will be calculated using NOAA CPC data for the grid(s) and index interval(s) that producer’s have chosen to insure. When the final grid index falls below the producer’s “trigger grid index” (coverage level multiplied by the expected grid index), producers may receive a loss payment. Your insurance payments will be calculated based on the actual rainfall in the grid and how it differs from normal rainfall within the grid and index interval(s) producers have chosen to insure.

This insurance coverage is for a single peril—a lack of rain. Coverage is based on the experience of the entire grid. It is not based on individual farms or ranches or specific weather stations in the general area.

PRF insurance was designed for maximum flexibility. Producers are not required to insure all their acres, but they cannot exceed the total number of grazing or haying acres they operate. This allows each producer to insure only those acres that are important to grazing program or hay operation. By selecting a Protection Factor, producers can establish a value between 60 percent and 150 percent of the County Base Value and match the amount of protection to the value of forage that best represents their specific grazing or hay operation.

Producers will be asked to make several choices when insuring grazing or hay production, including coverage level, index intervals, protection factor, and number of acres. They should view the Grid ID Locator map and index grids for their area and assign acreage to one or more grids based on the location and use of the acreage to be insured.

Producers also will need to provide their farm numbers. Producers should work with their crop insurance agents to view the map and index grids for their area, and assign acreage to one or more grids based on the location and use of the acreage that is to be insured. It is critical that producers review the historical indices for their grid ID to determine how well the past results correspond to their past observations. Remember the sales closing date for 2013 crop is November 15, 2012.

The web site with more information on this program and grid locations and can be found at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/policies/pasturerangeforage/