By MATTHEW WEAVER
Growers could see a record price for wheat as the deadline looms to purchase or make changes to federal crop insurance.
The USDA Risk Management Agency's recent price projections approach the highest ever, said Dave Paul, director of the agency's Spokane office.
The discovery period for prices is Aug. 15-Sept. 15, and is based on an average of prices during that time.
Paul pointed to an estimate of about $8.20 per bushel for wheat on Sept. 7, with several days still remaining for the final price to be determined.
"We're likely to have a high price," Paul said. He advises growers to consider coverage at the highest level, and see what effect it will have on their costs.
The sales closing date for fall federal crop insurance is Sept. 30.
That's the final date producers can buy or make changes to their insurance for wheat, fall-planted barley with winter coverage in selected counties and fall-planted dry peas and lentils with winter coverage, among others.
"I think we have the best small grains crop insurance product we've ever had in my 30-year history by far," he said. "You've got everything built into one tool and it's a lot easier to understand."
Under the Common Crop Insurance Policy, which rolled out in 2010, producers have three choices, he said. When the agency announces its projected price in mid-September, farmers can elect to buy yield protection, establish a revenue guarantee or buy downside price protection.
In the past, to receive disaster assistance under the USDA Farm Service Agency's Supplemental Revenue Assistance Payments Program, or SURE, a producer needed to have insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage.
SURE is available for crop losses due to natural disasters occurring through Sept. 30, 2011, said Chris Bieker, spokeswoman for the agency.
Congress could decide to extend the program or let it expire, Bieker.
Paul encourages farmers to meet with their insurance agent and look over their options well before the Sept. 30 deadline.
Risk Management Agency: www.rma.usda.gov
Farm Service Agency: www.fsa.usda.gov