The new year is sure to require a crop insurance education, though to what degree depends on how the farm bill shakes out. The House and Senate bills include shallow-loss programs, but there are differences in details. "The big challenge will be understanding how the shallow-loss program works independently and then in conjunction with the crop insurance portion," says Barry Barnett, agricultural economics professor at Mississippi State University. "Then again, even if a farm bill passes, it will be virtually impossible for the shallow-loss program to be farm-ready by the crop insurance sales closing date. Stay tuned; we don’t know how things will play out."
One aspect we do know is that the farm program for cotton will be exclusively delivered by the Risk Management Agency (RMA). "This stems from Brazil challenging the U.S. at the World Trade Organization," Barnett notes. "With other commodities, farmers can choose between shallow-loss programs delivered by RMA or the Farm Service Agency."