On June 30, 2020, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) issued Managers Bulletin: MGR-20-018, announcing that the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board of Directors (Board) granted approval for the conversion of the Grass Seed Insurance Program from pilot to permanent status based on the favorable pilot program experience and published the Grass Seed Insurance Policy. https://www.rma.usda.gov/Policy-and-Procedure/Bulletins-and-Memos/2020/MGR-20-018; https://www.rma.usda.gov/-/media/RMAweb/Policies/Grass-Seed/2021/Grass-Seed-Crop-Provisions-21-0102.ashx .
RMA states that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) uses the RMA designation of pilot or permanent program in their consideration of Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) availability. RMA states that NAP availability is not impacted until the subsequent year if the RMA notification of conversion to permanent status is issued less than 90 days before the next NAP application date. RMA also states that NAP availability will solely be determined by the FSA.
ANALYSIS – It was determined years ago that crop insurance programs that were still pilot programs would remain eligible for NAP because no one wanted to force producer to purchase a policy that will still in the testing phase. As experience is accumulated, the Board either makes changes as necessary to the program and extends the pilot or makes the program permanent. In the case of the Grass Seed Crop, which was first approved by the Board in 2009, RMA determined, and the Board approved making the program permanent based on favorable experience. Once the Board approves a policy for permanent status, it will be published in the Code of Federal Regulations to give it the force of law. In the meantime, the permanent designation can effect eligibility for NAP depending on the NAP application dates.
All statements made are opinions of the author and are not intended to provide legal opinions or legal advice.