1. Effective July 1, ranchers can insure more of their cattle and hogs using Livestock Risk Protection, which shields against drops in market prices. Coverage has expanded to all states, and the federal government will cover up to 35 percent of the premiums, compared with 13 percent under prior rules.

2. Higher levels of coverage are being offered for the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or NAP, a popular safety net program, as of April 8.

“NAP is a valuable risk mitigation tool for farmers and ranchers,” said FSA Administrator Richard Fordyce. “In agriculture, losses from natural disasters are a matter of when, not if, and having a NAP policy provides a little peace of mind.”

There is also a one-time opportunity, until May 24, 2019, to obtain buy-up coverage for 2019 or 2020 eligible crops for which the NAP application closing date has passed.

Service fees, meanwhile, have increased $75 for crop, county or multi-county coverage. Talk to your local FSA agent for more details.

3. The Conservation Stewardship Program is offered in Montana through continuous signups. The programs offers many benefits, including increased crop yields, decreased inputs, wildlife habitat improvements and increased resilience to weather extremes.

CSP is for working lands including cropland, pastureland, rangeland, nonindustrial private forest land and agricultural land under the jurisdiction of a tribe.

While applications for the Conservation Stewardship Program are accepted throughout the year, the deadline for 2019 funding is May 10 this year. USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will invest up to $700 million for new enrollments and contract extensions in 2019.

The 2018 Farm Bill has authorized NRCS to accept new CSP enrollments now through 2023. Higher payment rates are now available for certain conservation activities, including cover crops and resource conserving crop rotations. There’s also specific support for existing and for transitioning to organic production, and there is a special conservation initiative for producers who have maintained cropland base acres.

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