The farm bill implementation process continued Monday with an announcement from USDA that it would move forward with changes to crop insurance to provide more coverage levels and to provide beginning farmers with expanded options as well.
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said the improvements will provide better protection from weather disaster, market volatility and other risk factors, and the beginning farmer provisions will make crop insurance more affordable and provide greater support when new farmers experience substantial losses.
"Crop insurance is critical to the ongoing success of today's farmers and ranchers and our agriculture economy. These improvements provide additional flexibility to ensure families do not lose everything due to events beyond their control," Vilsack said in a USDA statement.
Related: USDA To Pilot Crop Insurance Options for Diversified Farms
USDA's Risk Management Agency filed an interim rule with the Federal Register Monday, allowing USDA to move forward with changes to crop insurance provisions.
The provisions allow producers to have enterprise units for irrigated and non-irrigated crops, give farmers and ranchers the ability to purchase different levels of coverage for a variety of irrigation practices, provide guidance on conservation compliance, implement protections for native sod and provide adjustments to historical yields following significant disasters, USDA said.
Beginning farmer crop insurance changes
The Farm Bill authorizes specific coverage benefits for beginning farmers and ranchers starting with the 2015 crop year. The changes announced today exempt new farmers from paying the $300 administrative fee for catastrophic policies.