News Release

USDA Expands Crop Insurance Coverage for Sesame Nationwide

WASHINGTON, Nov.17, 2023 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is now offering crop insurance for sesame producers nationwide. Beginning in the 2024 crop year, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is expanding the Actual Production History (APH) plan to allow producers to request written agreements anywhere sesame or a similar crop has been grown successfully. RMA is expanding the program in response to requests from sesame producers.

“USDA has seen an increased interest in sesame production over the last few years due in large part to the fact that sesame is a low-input, drought, and heat tolerant crop,” RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger said. “After listening to feedback, the Risk Management Agency worked with producers to develop crop insurance options that will help producers begin or expand their sesame production.”

The APH plan is specifically for clean, dry sesame. In the 2023 crop year, producers insured more than 35,000 acres of sesame with more than $9 million in liabilities. The sesame APH plan of insurance is already available in select counties in Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas without a written agreement. Prior to the 2024 crop year, written agreements were limited to specified counties. Producers will now be able to request written agreements anywhere sesame or similar crops such as cotton, wheat, and grain sorghum are successfully grown.

Non-dehiscent sesame resists shattering at maturity, allowing it to be harvested with the same equipment used for wheat. Producers have incorporated sesame into their usual rotation of corn or grain sorghum, wheat, and cotton.

Additionally, RMA is expanding the availability of enterprise units to sesame, giving sesame producers greater options to manage their risk. An enterprise unit allows a producer to insure all acres of the insured crop in the county together, as opposed to other unit structures that separate the acreage for insurance. Enterprise units are attractive to producers due to lower premium rates offered to recognize the lower risk associated with the geographic diversification. In general, the larger the enterprise unit, the lesser the risk, and the greater the enterprise unit discount.

Producers that are interested in planting and insuring sesame should speak to their crop insurance agent to get additional details, including upcoming sales closing dates for their area and written agreement requirements.

More Information

Sesame producers and other specialty crop producers can learn more on RMA’s Specialty Crops webpage or by contacting one of RMA’s specialty crop liaisons, who serve as contacts for local specialty crop producers. Producers can receive the most up to date information about RMA insurance options for specialty and organic crops by subscribing to RMA email updates.

Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator. Producers can learn more about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net at or by contacting their RMA Regional Office.

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