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John Shea, 202-690-0437


Washington, Oct 18, 2010 - USDA’s Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board of Directors (FCIC Board) voted to expand the Pasture, Rangeland, Forage (PRF) program of insurance at its September 2010 meeting. The Board approved expansion of the pilot to Arkansas, Maryland, Minnesota, and Wisconsin under the Rainfall Index (RI), and to Nevada under the Vegetation Index (VI), beginning with the 2012 crop year.

For other coverage areas under both the RI and VI plans, please see the 2011 availability map.

“This innovative pilot program is based on vegetation and rainfall indices," said RMA Administrator, William J. Murphy. “It is designed to give forage and livestock producers the ability to insure for losses of forage intended for grazing or to be harvested for hay. The use of technology allows the Federal crop insurance program to offer an insurance product useful to ranchers who rely on pastures and rangelands for their livestock.”

PRF is an area risk Federal crop insurance policy, using RI and VI to determine losses and, therefore, claims payments. The Rainfall Index uses National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center (NOAA CPC) data. Claims payments are based on the data from NOAA CPC showing the deviation from normal precipitation interpolated to an area for a specific time period selected by each individual producer. It is important to understand that payments are NOT based on individual rain gauges on the producer’s farm or a single weather station.

The Vegetation Index uses the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data from the United States Geological Survey Earth Resources Observation and Science. The NDVI is a measure of photosynthesis (vegetation greenness) and correlates to vegetation conditions and productive capacity. Plants that are not stressed generally have a higher NDVI value. Losses calculated using the Vegetation Index are also paid based on the deviation from normal.

For more information about the PRF program, please see the PRF page on the RMA Web site.