WASINGTON, D.C. - USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) announced Thursday a proposed rule that would establish a program to refund part of crop insurance premiums to producers who have had minimal losses in recent years.

The Agency said the rule, published in the Federal Register, would have a 15-day comment period ending Jan. 21.

The "Good Performance Refund", as RMA called it, would vary by producer and be based on the qualified producer's history in the program.

Among other things, the Federal Register notice said that to qualify, producers with seven to ten years of crop insurance program participation during the base period would need to have no more than one year with a reported loss and a positive net paid premium during the time they participate. Producers with four to six years of program participation would not be allowed any reported losses.

RMA estimates that the average refund amount per producer this year will be about $1,000, with a proposed maximum of $25,000.

RMA said it expects the program will provide producers with about $75 million this year in crop insurance refunds, which will come from savings achieved in the recent renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA) between RMA and crop insurance companies.

The NAWG Domestic and Trade Policy Committee and NAWG staff are reviewing the proposed rule to determine what comments are appropriate based on program details and the short comment deadline.

The full Federal Register notice outlining the new program is accessible at http://origin.www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-01-06/pdf/2011-14.pdf.

SOURCE: National Association of Wheat Growers