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Important Changes to Crop Insurance for Oats and Hybrid Winter Rye

The USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) Regional Office in Eagan, which oversees crop insurance in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, has made some substantive changes to crop insurance options for oats and winter rye.

First, beginning last spring, crop revenue coverage for oats is now a viable option with the changes made by USDA-RMA in calculating the price for oats.  Much like you, the agency has long recognized that the CBOT oats' future contracts had little to no bearing on the price at the farm gate.  After a pretty extensive statistical deep-dive and modeling effort using historical data, the agency came to the conclusion that the CBOT soft red winter wheat futures price was a much more robust predictor for oat prices at the farmgate than the CBOT oat futures. The Regional Office will be in the second year of providing this option to oat producers.

Second, as of this fall, approved hybrid winter rye varieties were insurable separately from open-pollinated winter rye varieties through a type/practice written agreement offer from the Regional Office.  Although these approved high-yielding varieties are also insurable under the winter type for 2024, beginning in the 2025 crop year, all approved high-yielding varieties are only insurable by written agreement.  This in essence means that the historical yield data for open-pollinated varieties in individual counties or for individual producers is no longer a barrier to the adoption of hybrid winter rye as it opens the door to more realistic, and therefore, affordable crop revenue coverage and other crop insurance options.  Producers are encouraged to meet with their crop insurance agent to discuss these rye changes and the submission of written agreement requests to the Regional Office for the 2025 crop year as the deadline for 2024 has passed.

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