More alfalfa seed producers in the Pacific Northwest can use a pilot insurance program for the 2014 crop year.

The USDA Risk Management Agency recently expanded availability of the forage alfalfa seed pilot multi-peril crop insurance program to qualifying producers in Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Alfalfa seed coverage is generally available in Idaho's Canyon and Owyhee counties, Oregon's Malheur County and Washington's Grant and Walla Walla counties.

For the 2014 crop year, producers outside the county pilot area may request protection for their alfalfa seed crop.

According to the agency, the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. Board made extended coverage available through a written agreement process.

“We're pretty excited about it,” said risk management specialist Jo Lynne Seufer, based at the agency office in Spokane Valley, Wash. “Our pilot programs have to go through five to seven years of testing as a beta product. It takes a lot of data testing and going through and making sure we have everything that makes it an actuarially sound product.”

She recommends the program to growers raising alfalfa seed who are looking for a risk protection tool.

Producers are encouraged to visit with their crop insurance agent by the Sept. 30 sales closing date to sign up if coverage is available in their count, or determine whether they would be eligible for coverage under a written agreement.

The agent would contact the agency, who puts the policy together, Seufer said. She recommends producers have their production history and planted acreage information.

The agency is also seeking public comment by Sept. 30 for a proposed rule to make the forage seed pilot program permanent, starting with the 2015 crop year.

Seufer said the program will likely be available in counties with existing participation.

According to the agency, the pilot program was for alfalfa seed only, but the policy has the potential to cover other small seeded legumes used for forage.


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