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USDA Expands Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage Crop Insurance to Hawaii

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is expanding Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage (PRF) rainfall index insurance to include Hawaii beginning in 2025. The PRF insurance option protects livestock producers against feed loss due to lack of precipitation, providing producers on the Big Island of Hawaii with coverage for grazing acres. This expansion is part of USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) efforts to increase and enhance insurance options in Hawaii.

“We are always looking at the unique needs and situations that our producers have in different parts of the country so that we can adjust and develop crop insurance resources for their particular situations,” said RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “Rather than relying on a blanket across-the-country approach, we looked at ways to collect and analyze weather information and outcomes specific to our producers in Hawaii.”

PRF is designed to provide insurance coverage on pasture, rangeland or forage acres. The program uses a rainfall index to determine precipitation for coverage purposes and does not measure production or product loss.

The PRF in Hawaii will use Hawaii Climate Data Portal information and will utilize a five-kilometer by five-kilometer grid. The program will also use a new county base value methodology due to minimal hay production on the island and limited data on grazing lease rates of the Hawaiian cattle industry.

Pasture, rangeland and forage cover approximately 55% of U.S. land. Forage grows differently in various areas, so farmers and ranchers need to know which types and techniques work best in their region. The program helps protect a producer’s operation from forage loss risks due to the lack of precipitation. It does not insure against ongoing or severe drought, as the coverage is based on expected precipitation during specific intervals.

Similar to PRF in the contiguous 48 states, producers on Hawaii’s Big Island must select at least two and up to six intervals to insure their acres.

The first sales closing date is Dec. 1, 2024.

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