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John Shea (202) 690-0437


WASHINGTON, Jan 31, 2005 - Insured producers concerned about the impact of Asian soybean rust on their crop insurance indemnities should talk to their crop insurance agent about good farming practices, advises Risk Management Agency (RMA) administrator Ross J. Davidson, Jr. While disease is an insured peril under the Federal crop insurance program, damage due to the insufficient or improper application of disease control measures is not.

"Insured producers are expected to use good farming practices and follow the recommendations of agriculture experts to control this fungus," Davidson said. "Registered fungicides are available to control Asian soybean rust."

Under the terms of the Common Crop Insurance Policy, a practice is considered a good farming practice if agricultural experts agree that the production method used will allow the crop to make normal progress toward maturity and produce at least the yield used to determine the production guarantee.

Insured producers should follow developments as to the identification and spread of Asian soybean rust disease, and continue to stay informed and updated concerning appropriate treatments that may apply to their situation. Appropriate treatment may vary from timing of application (pre- or post-discovery of the disease), frequency, and choice of chemical or other determining factors. If crops become infected, discovery of the disease and any recommendations received regarding the application of appropriate control measures must be documented.

For an insured producer to receive an indemnity, insurance providers must verify that losses are unavoidable due to naturally occurring events and that producers followed good farming practices. This is true for all insured producers regardless of their plan of insurance: individual or group, production or revenue.

Information about Asian soybean rust control measures may be obtained from plant pathologists in agriculture departments of State governments, universities, and USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service who are familiar with the risks of exposure to this disease.

For more information regarding good farming practices and crop insurance protection against Asian soybean rust, please see the crop policies area on the RMA website at