Educational series offers insurance basics on managing production and price risk

Session recordings now available from Michigan State University Extension.

Decorative image.

Michigan State University Extension launched a new webinar series beginning in 2023 to aid producers in understanding risk protection programs. The Farm Policy and Risk Management Series offers educational insight and resources on United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) insurance programs designed to help mitigate production and price risk. Each webinar session focused on a specific Michigan production area. These sessions reviewed basics of insurance and how producers can utilize programs to maximize benefits, including understanding the different policies, the ways each provides protection and the advantages offered by each. Michigan farmers can better manage potential risks from weather and volatile markets by understanding which options best fit their specific challenges, needs and production area.

Recordings of sessions are now available, with one live session remaining on the Farm Bill before the series conclusion. Sessions have featured an array of guest speakers or panelists from within the insurance industry, including GreenStone Farm Credit Services, several independent agencies and university experts.

Fruit session

The fruit session focused on insurance options for Michigan tree fruit and small fruit growers. The session reviewed various program details, coverage levels available and how payouts are calculated. The session featured Cory Blumerick from GreenStone Farm Credit Service as a guest co-speaker.

Beef and swine session

The beef and swine session focused on the Livestock Risk Protection Program administered by the USDA Risk Management Agency. It is a subsidized program and is purchased as insurance from the same agents that crop insurance is purchased. During this session, topics outlined how the program functions, working with an insurance agent, developing protection strategies and how to calculate program costs versus indemnity payments.

Vegetable session

The vegetable session explored several crop insurance programs for vegetable producers. Participants learned about policy options and what conditions activate their coverage plans. The session also highlighted program options based on farm scale. Some programs are tailored to large-scale production on well-established farms, where other programs work better for smaller-scale farms, especially those growing fresh market specialty crops. The session featured Brandon Walters from GreenStone Farm Credit Service as a guest co-speaker.

Dairy session

The dairy session explored insurance and risk management programs designed specifically for dairy farms. Two distinct programs were discussed: Dairy Revenue Protection and Dairy Margin Coverage. Participants reviewed price risk as it relates to milk prices and their connection to futures markets. Most importantly, how adverse changes in prices for milk and dairy commodities can impact prices received. The session focused on how programs can aid farmers in managing these adverse impacts and featured J. Craig Williams from Penn State University as a guest speaker.

Field crops session

The field crops session explored crop insurance programs for field crop growers. Participants reviewed the basics of crop insurance and how its use can benefit their farm. This included understanding the differences between yield and revenue policies, the ways each provides protection and the advantages offered by each. The session also featured a guest panel of insurance agents to discuss and answer questions about these programs. Panelists included Jessica Braeutigam from Growers Crop Insurance Agency, LLC and Devin Roth from GreenStone Farm Credit Services.

Farm Bill sessions

The first of two Farm Bill sessions was held on Jan. 23, 2024, with the final live session airing Feb. 13 at 6:30 p.m. In these repeat sessions, producers explore their options for 2024 Farm Bill commodity programs. Speakers explain how current and new program payments, such as Price Loss Coverage and Agricultural Risk Coverage, are calculated. They will also review how Farm Bill programs interact with crop insurance policies, specifically the Supplemental Coverage Option.

The session also provides examples using the Michigan State University Farm Bill Analyzer, which helps showcase which programs may produce the most benefits for a producer’s individual needs. These programs also feature returning guest speaker and crop insurance agent Elliott Alfredson from Eagle Valley Ag Risk Advisors, LLC to discuss insights into insurance policies.

There’s still time to sign up for the remaining Farm Bill session of the Farm Policy and Risk Management Series. To register today, visit: Farm Policy and Risk Management Series.

All session recordings can also be found at the MSU Extension Farm Business Revenue Insurance website, part of the MSU Farm Business Management homepage.

Did you find this article useful?