USDA confirms APH exclusion for insuring spring crops

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, Oct. 21, 2014 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the Actual Production History (APH) Yield Exclusion, will be available nationwide for farmers of select crops starting in the spring of 2015. Program details will be announced in December 2014.

Vilsack said the change is “extraordinarily complex,” but the ability to use other 2014 farm program data, along with hard work from USDA staff and additional staff resources, made the earlier roll out of this crop insurance provision possible.  

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The APH Yield Exclusion allows farmers to exclude yields in exceptionally bad years from their production history when calculating yields used to establish their crop insurance coverage. The level of insurance coverage available to a farmer is based on the farmer's average recent yields.

Under the new Farm Bill program, yields can be excluded from farm actual production history when the county average yield for that crop year is at least 50 percent below the 10 previous consecutive crop years' average yield.

Spring crops eligible for APH Yield Exclusion include corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, barley, canola, sunflowers, peanuts, and popcorn. Nearly three-fourths of all acres and liability in the federal crop insurance program will be covered under APH Yield Exclusion, according to USDA.

Vilsack pointed out that the change could be extremely helpful to growers who have been hard hit by drought. However, there will be no change in the APH yield exclusion for fall-planted wheat, much to the dismay of several growers in Texas and Oklahoma who are considering legal action against USDA.

David Cleavinger, a Texas Wheat Producers Association (TWPA) board member who farms near Wildorado, Texas, told Agri-Pulse in August that without this APH change, his crop insurance coverage will continue to erode after years of devastating drought. 

“I haven't harvested an acre of dryland wheat since 2010,” Cleavinger said. “I ran very conservative figures on one dryland wheat section in Deaf Smith County, and by dropping the yields from three qualifying years, I would be able to increase my APH from 23 bushels per acre, to 28.” At $6.50 wheat, the adjustment would correspond to $32.50 per acre of crop insurance coverage that he is not eligible for now but that his land is capable of producing under average conditions.

During a House Committee on Agriculture hearing on July 10, Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., expressed frustration about USDA's intention to delay implementation of the yield exclusion until 2015.

Today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., commended Secretary Vilsack and his team on their efforts to implement this critical provision in the farm bill.

 

The APH adjustment means everything to farmers all across the country who have suffered through year after year of devastating drought conditions. It is the difference between having viable crop insurance for the coming year or not. It is for these reasons that I worked to include the APH adjustment in the farm bill and why I am pleased the Secretary redoubled his efforts to get it done this year. I remain hopeful that USDA will also work to make the same relief available to winter wheat producers."
  

For more information on the Risk Management Agency: http://www.rma.usda.gov/

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