Crop insurance for fall-seeded legume forages is available in all of Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. It's also available in central and western Maryland and selected counties of New York and New England. But the sign-up closing date, from a practical standpoint, may be tomorrow -- Friday.
Technically, you must sign up for fall-seeded forage acres by Aug. 1. Current policy holders, according to Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, have until July 31 (Sunday) to make changes to existing contracts. But Saturday and Sunday aren't good days for locating insurance agents and doing business.
This year's weather-related problems makes it all the more important to ensure that forage crops are protected. As Pennsylvania Ag Secretary George Greig reinterates: "Crop insurance is an indispensible risk management tool that can help farmers protect their bottom line against factors they can't control." He encourages producers to take advantage of the crop insurance products to help ensure they can financially recover when the unpredictable happens.
The forage seeding policy covers newly seeded acreage of alfalfa and forage mixtures containing at least 50% alfalfa, clover, birdsfoot trefoil or any other locally recognized and approved forage legume species (by weight) planted by Aug. 31. You can secure up to $267 worth of coverage per acre under the plan. In many areas, producers can purchase $200 of protection for around $10 per acre.
Premiums are determined by rates filed for a county. If premium rates aren't filed, producers with three concurrent years of production records may be able to secure protection by completing a written agreement with a crop insurance agent before the closing deadline.
Coverage under the policy ends upon commencement of grazing or initial harvest. If the forage legume species is alfalfa, the acreage may be insured for second and subsequent years under a separate forage production policy.
Contact your crop insurance agent today, or before the Aug. 1 deadline. If you aren't working with an agent now, you can find one at www3.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents.