WASHINGTON, August 2, 2017 - USDA’s Risk Management Agency will make crop insurance available to beekeepers in 19 additional states, meaning it will now be available in all contiguous 48 states. 

It is also making a change designed to provide better protection for producers’ honey, pollen collection, wax, and breeding stock. RMA is changing the basis for calculating payments from a vegetation index to rainfall index. The rainfall index uses data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center. The NOAA data is reported on a grid system, with each grid being 0.25 degrees in latitude by 0.25 degrees in longitude, an area that would be 17 miles by 17 miles at the equator.

The insurance coverage is for a single peril, lack of precipitation, so payments are made when a producer’s final grid index falls below a “trigger” grid index. “Expanding this coverage so that more producers can participate in the federal crop insurance program strengthens the rural economy through a broader farm safety net,” said RMA Acting Administrator Heather Manzano. “This provides increased support for beekeepers who play a critical role in agriculture.”