MSU launches the Farm Policy and Risk Management Series

A new webinar program from Michigan State University Extension.

for decorative purposes only

Michigan farmers need to manage many risks. Production risk brought on by weather, price risk from volatile markets, and even input cost risk can be challenging to manage. Insurance programs created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) were designed as a cost-effective means to aid farmers in managing or reducing impacts from these types of risks.

MSU Extension is launching a new webinar series in order to aid producers in understanding risk protection programs. The Farm Policy and Risk Management Series will offer educational webinars on USDA insurance programs. Each webinar session will focus on a specific Michigan production area. These sessions will review the basics of insurance and how producers can utilize programs to maximize benefits. This includes understanding the different policies, the ways each provides protection, and the advantages offered by each. Michigan farmers can better manage potential risks by understanding which options best fit their specific challenges, needs, and production area.

Several sessions will feature guest speakers and/or panelists from within the insurance industry. Including GreenStone Farm Credit Services, Michigan Farm Bureau, several independent agencies (yet to be named), and university experts (yet to be named).

Fruit – Tuesday, October 17 at 6:30 p.m.

This session will focus on insurance options for Michigan tree fruit and small fruit growers. Fruit crops will include cherries, apples, grapes, peaches, blueberries and more. The session will review Actual Production History (APH) and Actual Revenue History (ARH) programs. The coverage levels available, how payouts are calculated, and other details will be presented. The session will also review Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) and Micro Farm (MFP), which are based on overall crop revenue. These can be used to cover many crops and farm commodities, across multiple markets. The session will also feature Cory Blumerick from GreenStone Farm Credit Service as a guest co-speaker.

Beef/Swine – Tuesday, November 14 at 6:30 p.m.

This session will explain the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) Program. The LRP program is administered by 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 that outline how the program functions and how to work with an insurance agent will be covered. The session will also review how to develop protection strategies and how to calculate program costs and indemnity payments.

Vegetables – Tuesday, December 12 at 1:00 p.m.

This session will explore several crop insurance programs for vegetable producers. Three distinct program options will be discussed: Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, Micro Farm Program and Average Production History (APH) insurance. Participants will learn about policy options in these programs and what conditions activate their coverage plans. The session will also highlight 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 will also feature a guest panel of insurance agents to discuss and answer questions about insurance programs.

Dairy – Wednesday, December 20 at 1:00 p.m.

This session will explore insurance and risk management programs designed specifically for dairy farms. Two distinct programs will be discussed: Dairy Revenue Protection and Dairy Margin Coverage. Participants will review 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 will focus on how programs can aid farmers in managing these adverse impacts. The session will also feature J. Craig Williams from Penn State University as a guest speaker.

Late Breaking News Farm Bill Session – Tentatively on Thursday, January 11 at 6:30 p.m.

This session will occur if substantial changes to Farm Bill policy are announced before 2024 commodity program decisions are made. Speakers will provide updates and context for new Farm Bill policies. Importantly, presenters will discuss any changes in timing, programs, and payment structures, as well as how they relate to recent Farm Bill history. Implications for how program changes may influence financial outcomes will also be discussed.

Field Crops – Tuesday, January 16 at 6:30 p.m.

This session will explore crop insurance programs for field crop growers. Two distinct programs options will be discussed: Yield Protection and Revenue Protection. Participants will review the basics of crop insurance and how its use can benefit their farm. This includes understanding the differences between yield and revenue policies, the ways each provides protection, and the advantages offered by each. The session will also feature a guest panel of insurance agents to discuss and answer questions about these programs.

Farm Bill Sessions – Tuesday, January 23 at 1:00 p.m. and Tuesday, February 13 at 6:30 p.m.

These sessions will help agricultural producers explore their options for 2024 Farm Bill commodity programs. MSU Extension experts will provide information on current policy updates and how these relate to the 2018 Farm Bill. Program statistics and payments from 2023 will also be highlighted. Speakers will 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. The session will also provide examples using the MSU Extension Farm Bill calculator. The calculator helps showcase which programs may produce the most benefits for a producer’s individual needs.

Historically this session is presented as “Farm Bill Program & Crop Insurance Decisions – What Fits Your Farm.” These repeat sessions focus on corn, soybeans, and wheat crops and participants are encouraged to attend either or both sessions.

The Farm Policy and Risk Management Series is a free program presented by Michigan State University Extension. To participate, registration is required. To register today, visit:

Did you find this article useful?