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John Shea, 202-690-0437


WASHINGTON, Oct 15, 2008 - RMA has announced two newly developed crop insurance pilot programs for apiculture, beginning in crop year 2009. The new insurance products are area index programs intended to offset the loss of the value of apiculture including honey production, collection of pollen, wax, and breeding using either a rainfall or a vegetation index.

'We have made the development of insurance products for apiculture a priority for addressing the needs of apiculture producers,' said RMA Administrator Eldon Gould. 'Both these products, developed by private submitters and approved under Section 508(h) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act, will use new technology to help remedy the inability to directly measure apiculture production across the diverse environments on U.S. farms and ranches.'

To test each index in various climate, soil, and weather conditions, the programs are available in six regions across the country: the warm and humid Southeast, the cool and humid Northeast, the Northern Great Plains, the Southern Great Plains, the semi-arid Southwest, and the intermountain region of the Northwest.

The Rainfall Index (RI) apiculture program will be tested in Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, and Utah, and in selected counties in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

RI is based on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center data and uses a 12-mile square grid. Insurance payments to the producer are calculated based on the deviation from normal rainfall within that grid.

The Vegetation Index (VI) apiculture program will be tested in Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wyoming, and in selected counties in Colorado, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina.

VI uses remote sensing data, along with the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data from the US Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science data center. The NDVI is an alternative measure of vegetation amount and condition, and can indicate production capacity. In general the healthier the plants being examined, the higher the NDVI value. As with the RI, losses calculated using the VI are indemnified based on the deviation from normal.

Policyholders will be asked to make the following choices when insuring apiculture production land. The insured acreage may be contiguous or non-contiguous and on single or multiple grids. Producers will work with their crop insurance agents to view the map and grids for the area and assign acreage to one or more grids based on the location and use of the insured acreage.

More detailed information about the two new pilot programs for apiculture is available on the RMA Web site at: