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The information presented on this page was originally released on February 8, 1999. It may not be outdated, but please search our site for more current information. If you plan to quote or reference this information in a publication, please check with the Extension specialist or author before proceeding.
Some Ag Insurance Premiums Lowered
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Crop insurance is on sale for farmers in Mississippi at nearly a 30 percent discount, but growers have to act quickly to take advantage of this reduction.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $400 million in disaster relief to subsidize buy-up crop insurance premiums. Buy-up insurance provides the highest levels of coverage at an increased cost to farmers. The relief money reduces coverage cost, but must be bought by Feb. 28. Other emergency financial assistance is available for areas that had multiple year losses or single year disasters.
Dr. John Robinson, agricultural economist at Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said the assistance is part of an almost $2.4 billion disaster relief plan funded by the federal government.
"This is a windfall opportunity this year to purchase coverage," Robinson said. "Growers of spring planted crops in Mississippi who want to increase their protection through this subsidized crop insurance offer only have until the end of February to do so."
For example, a grower with 65 percent coverage, which would pay about $205 per acre assuming there was a total loss, would pay $3.82 for the buy-up coverage. The reduced premiums offered mean this year the producer would pay just $2.68 per acre for the same level of coverage.
Crops eligible for the reduced insurance premiums in Mississippi are those with crop insurance sales closing dates between July 31, 1998 and Sept. 15, 1999. Growers purchase this insurance through their ag insurance agent. Sign up for federal disaster payments, another part of the relief package, at the local Farm Service Agency office.
"People who receive the multiple or single year disaster payments will be required to sign up for crop insurance if they don't already have it," Robinson said. "Historically, receiving disaster payments has removed the incentive and participation in crop insurance programs, but it's the intent of Congress to use crop insurance as the vehicle of disaster relief."
Mississippi has just 2.4 million acres of agricultural crops covered by minimal catastrophic crop insurance. Robinson said this type of insurance is basically free to farmers, but is a very low level coverage, insuring 50 percent of yield valued at 50 percent of market price.
Just 934,000 acres in Mississippi, mostly row crops, have buy-up coverage. USDA reports there are 12.5 million acres in farms in Mississippi. Cotton covers about 1 million of these acres, and corn and soybeans together account for another 2.5 million acres.
Contact: Dr. John Robinson, (601) 325-2671