Annual Forage Insurance (AF)


What is AF Insurance?

AF provides highly customizable protection from below average rainfall on annually planted acres used as feed and fodder by livestock. Indemnity (payment) is based on the number of acres insured and is triggered when precipitation for a specific area falls below historic average during a specific time period. 

Why Insure?

Lack of precipitation can be detrimental to grazing and feed production plans.

AF is smart: The USDA subsidizes premium amounts up to 59%, making this an affordable and beneficial tool for many forage growers and grazers.

Indemnity is auto-calculated: Precipitation and historic averages are determined by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which means data, not an adjuster, determines indemnity.

Policy Decisions

Number and Location of Acres: Insure up to every acre of annual forage you own or lease.  

  • Acres fall into one or more rainfall index grids, which measure .25° latitude by .25° longitude. NOAA calculates the unique rainfall history (1948–present) and current rainfall for each grid.

Growing Season(s) and Intervals: Acreage is insured in one of 12 possible growing seasons based on plant dates. Each growing season is composed of several intervals, which are two months long.

  • For a given growing season, all grids within a county must use identical interval selections.
  • The same acres cannot be insured in overlapping growing seasons.

Coverage Level: Insure 70–90% of historic average precipitation. Precipitation must fall below your coverage level for a grid/interval to trigger indemnity.

Productivity Factor: You can value your acres at 60–150% of the average value* in the county. The amount of indemnity you receive is based on the productivity factor you select.

*Average value, called the county base value, is set by the USDA

Dual Use Option: Allows producers the option to purchase both AF and a small grains (traditional MPCI row crop insurance) policy on a crop that is planted with the intent to graze first and then later harvest for grain.

  • Dual Use reduces the county base value, premium, and potential indemnity to 40% of normal.
  • Available only in counties where grain/grazing is considered a good farming practice.
  • Available in growing seasons 1–3 in most areas with some areas offering growing season 4.

AF Timeline

  • May 1–July 15: Sign up/renew an application, which makes you eligible but does not obligate you to insure during any of the 12 growing seasons.
  • 5th of each month following a planting period: Sign acreage report to insure specific acres in a specific growing season.
  • September 30 of the following year: Premium due. Any indemnity received prior automatically goes towards the premium.