Tuesday, July 1, 2014

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USDA Continues Farm Bill Implementation with Provisions to Help Farmers
Manage Risk

WASHINGTON–Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced continued progress in implementing provisions of the 
2014 Farm Bill that provide new risk management options for farmers and ranchers. These improvements to crop insurance
programs will provide better protection from weather disaster, market volatility and other risk factors to ensure farmers 
aren't wiped out by events beyond their control.
Vilsack also announced new support for beginning farmers that will make crop insurance more affordable and provide 
greater support when new farmers experience substantial losses. These announcements build on other recent USDA 
efforts to support beginning farmers.
"Crop insurance is critical to the ongoing success of today's farmers and ranchers and our agriculture economy. These
 improvements provide additional flexibility to ensure families do not lose everything due to events beyond their control," 
said Vilsack. "We're also acting to provide more support to beginning farmers and ranchers so that they can manage their
 risk effectively. We need to not only encourage new farmers to get into agriculture, we must ensure they're not wiped 
out in their riskiest initial seasons so they can remain in agriculture for years to come."
The U. S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency filed an interim rule with the Federal Register, allowing 
USDA to move forward with changes to crop insurance provisions. The provisions provide better options for beginning 
farmers, allow producers to have enterprise units for irrigated and non-irrigated crops, give farmers and ranchers the 
ability to purchase different levels of coverage for a variety of irrigation practices, provide guidance on conservation 
compliance, implement protections for native sod and provide adjustments to historical yields following significant 
disasters.
The Farm Bill authorizes specific coverage benefits for beginning farmers and ranchers starting with the 2015 crop year. 
The changes announced today exempt new farmers from paying the $300 administrative fee for catastrophic policies. 
New farmers' premium support rates will also increase ten percentage points during their first five years of farming. 
Beginning farmers will also receive a greater yield adjustment when yields are below 60 percent of the applicable 
transitional yield. These incentives will be available for most insurance plans in the 2015 crop year and all plans by 
2016.
Starting in the fall of 2014, producers who till native sod and plant an annual crop on that land will see reductions in
 their crop insurance benefits during the first four years. Native sod is acreage that has never been tilled, or land which
 a producer cannot substantiate has ever been tilled for the production of a crop. The provision applies to acreage in all
 counties in Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota that is greater than five acres per
 policy and is producing annual crops.

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