What is Rainfall Index Apiculture Insurance?

The Risk Management Agency (USDA) is now offering a pilot insurance program for apiculture. This new pilot program uses rainfall and or vegetation greenness indices to estimate local rainfall and plant health, allowing beekeepers to purchase insurance protection against production risks. The Apiculture Pilot Insurance Program provides a safety net for beekeepers’ primary income sources – honey, pollen collection, wax, and breeding stock. Apiculture systems consist of different types of plants or crops and often contain mixtures of different species, each with different growth habits and seasons, vegetation greenness and health, rain requirements, and other climate conditions necessary to maintain plant growth over extended periods of time.


The Rainfall Index and Vegetation Index apiculture programs use new technology to assess losses in plant production across diverse plant conditions and environments. The Apiculture Pilot Insurance Program is only available in selected States and counties.


The Rainfall Index uses National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate Prediction Center (NOAA CPC) data, and each grid covers an approximate 12 x 12 mile area. You must select at least two 2-month time periods when rain is important to your operation in your area. These time periods are called index intervals. Your insurance payments will be calculated using NOAA CPC rainfall data for the grid(s) and index interval(s) you have chosen to insure. When the final grid index falls below your “trigger grid index,” (coverage level multiplied by the expected grid index) you may receive a loss payment. This insurance coverage is for a single peril—lack of rain. Coverage is based on the experience of the entire grid. It is NOT based on individual farms, ranches, or specific weather stations in the general area.


County base values for the Apiculture Insurance Program are based on honey production and use a 5-year rolling average of USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) data. The yield data are based on the NASS State average, and the price is the national average honey price for a given year.The Apiculture Pilot Insurance Program was designed to give you maximum flexibility. You do not have to insure all of your colonies. However, you cannot insure more than the total number of colonies you own. You will be asked to make several choices when insuring your operation, including coverage level, index intervals, protection factor, and number of colonies. You should work with your crop insurance agent to view the decision tool, map, and historical indices for your area. Colonies will be assigned to one or more grids based on the location to be insured. The Vegetation and Rainfall indices do not measure your direct production or loss. You are insuring a rainfall or vegetation index that is expected to estimate your operation, including honey production. Please review historical indices for your area to make sure that this product will be helpful to you.

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