Over the years, farmers, ranchers and landowners have learned that growing grass for cattle is a risky business. Not so much dangerous, but very dependent on the weather.

For that reason, DeDe Jones, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service risk management specialist in Amarillo, Texas said producers need to consider the perennial Pasture, Range and Forage Insurance, designed to protect livestock and hay producers against production losses.

The 2016 sign-up and acreage reporting deadline for this U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency program is Nov. 15. Premiums will be billed Sept. 1, 2017, Jones said.

“Many weather experts predict the upcoming winter and spring to be warmer than usual, with below-normal precipitation patterns,” she said. “As a result, livestock producers may consider adding PRF insurance to provide an extra layer of protection against low moisture conditions.”

Payment is not determined by individual damages, but rather area losses based on a grid system, Jones explained. Producers can select any portion of acres to insure, but they must also select between a minimum of two, two-month intervals and a maximum of six, two-month intervals per year.

Coverage levels between 70 and 90 percent are available, she said. Once coverage is selected, the producer also chooses a productivity factor between 60 and 150 percent. The productivity factor is a percentage of the established county base value for forage.

The base value is a standard rate published by the Risk Management Agency for each county. It is calculated based on estimated stocking rates and current hay prices, Jones said.

She said the program uses a rainfall index to determine potential indemnity payments.

Additionally, Jones said Alfalfa and other irrigated hay can also be insured under a Pasture, Range and Forage Insurance policy at different coverage levels and higher base values.

A decision-support tool to help producers determine coverage levels and intervals can be found at: http://prf.agforceusa.com/ri.

For more information about the insurance and how it fits into a risk management plan, contact Jones at 806-677-5600 or dljones@ag.tamu.edu.