WASHINGTON, Jan. 21, 2015 – While many growers will have until the end of March to make farm program choices, those who are interested in signing up for the Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO) and Stacked Income Protection Plan for Upland Cotton (STAX) must make a decision before the sales closing dates for eligible 2015 spring crops. In some parts of the country, such as most of Texas, that decision will need to be made within the next 10 days.

The sales closing dates may be as early as Jan. 31 for certain crops and counties. However, the sales closing date for the majority of spring crops is March 15.

“We want to encourage people to talk to their crop insurance agents before their sales closing date – which varies depending on what part of the country you’re in,” says Risk Management Agency (RMA) Administrator Brandon Willis.

RMA has developed an online Crop Insurance Decision Tool and an app for smartphones. The tool, which is located at http://prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/CIDT/ and available as a free download from the Apple iTunes store and Google Play store, demonstrates how the SCO and STAX plans work, including how coverage is determined, when insurance indemnity payments are triggered, approximate premium costs, and how SCO and STAX interact with an underlying multi-peril crop insurance (MPCI) policy.

“These are pretty user-friendly options, whether you’re out in the field or whether you’re in your house.  You can pull one of those two up and get a pretty good education for SCO and STAX and help understand how it works on your individual farm,” Willis adds.

SCO is a county-level policy endorsement that covers a portion of the producer’s deductible of their underlying MPCI policy. SCO is available for corn, cotton, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, spring barley, spring wheat, and winter wheat in select counties for the 2015 crop year. It cannot be purchased in conjunction with Agricultural Risk Coverage. STAX, another farm bill provision, is an area-based revenue policy that is only available for upland cotton beginning with the 2015 crop year. It may be purchased as a stand-alone policy, or as an endorsement to an underlying MPCI policy. For the 2014 crop year, 84,489 upland cotton policies were sold. Producers interested in learning how SCO and STAX can help them manage risk can find maps showing 2015 crop year availability, fact sheets, frequently asked questions, policy information and more at RMA’s Farm Bill website: www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/farmbill/index.html.


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