USDA expands Pasture, Rangeland and Forage insurance to include Big Island livestock producers

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture will expand its Pasture, Rangeland and Forage rainfall index insurance to include up to 600,000 acres for livestock producers on Hawai‘i Island beginning in 2025.

The PRF insurance option protects livestock producers against feed loss due to lack of precipitation, providing producers on the Big Island with coverage for grazing acres, totaling $13 million in coverage. The program does not insure against ongoing or severe drought, as the coverage is based on expected precipitation during specific intervals.

This expansion is part of USDA’s Risk Management Agency efforts to increase and enhance insurance options in Hawai‘i.

“We are always looking at the unique needs and situations that our producers have in different parts of the country so that we can adjust and develop crop insurance resources for their particular situations,” said RMA Administrator Marcia Bunger. “Rather than relying on a blanket across-the-country approach, we looked at ways to collect and analyze weather information and outcomes specific to our producers in Hawai‘i.”


This announcement follows a letter U.S. Senator Mazie K. Hirono sent in 2022 to USDA Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, requesting the USDA assess opportunities to offer the PRF insurance plan to livestock producers in Hawai‘i.

“The expansion of the PRF program in Hawai‘i is an important step in promoting sustainability in our food and agricultural systems,” said Hirono. “As Hawai‘i works to decrease reliance on imported goods, this program will help to provide resources and protection for grazing acres. I’m glad that USDA will now include Hawaii in this insurance coverage and I will continue working to support our local farmers and ranchers.”

The PRF in Hawai‘i will use Hawai‘i Climate Data Portal information and will utilize a five-kilometer by five-kilometer grid. The program will also use a new county-based value methodology due to minimal hay production on the island and limited data on grazing lease rates of the Hawaiian cattle industry.


“The Pasture, Rangeland, Forage Insurance is an insurance program that has helped ranchers across the United States to insure their grazing acres against rainfall volatility,” said Nicole Galase, Managing Director of the Hawai‘i Cattlemen’s Council. “Ranchers in Hawai‘i did not have access to this beneficial program, but we are pleased that the USDA RMA worked with Hawai‘i’s climate and weather scientists and ranchers on the ground to develop a program that fits Hawai‘i’s unique and varied topography.

We look forward to Hawai‘i Island ranchers getting access to this program in 2025 and eagerly anticipate the program to be available to livestock producers on all islands soon.”

Pasture, rangeland and forage cover approximately 55% of U.S. land. Forage grows differently in various areas, so farmers and ranchers need to know which types and techniques work best in their region.


Similar to PRF in the contiguous 48 states, producers on Hawaii’s Big Island must select at least two and up to six intervals to insure their acres.

The first sales closing date is Dec. 1, 2024.

The PRF expansion is also part of other efforts to increase and enhance insurance options for Hawaii producers. For example, in 2023, RMA launched a targeted outreach effort in Hawaii to raise awareness of Whole-Farm Revenue Protection and Micro Farm.

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