A new yield exclusion provision for calculating crop insurance coverage is coming to the benefit of farmers just when they need it most.

A new yield exclusion provision for calculating crop insurance coverage is coming to the benefit of farmers just when they need it most.

“It’s a major improvement for crop insurance in the Great Plains. It benefits wheat growers more than anyone else,” said Art Barnaby, a leading crop insurance analyst and extension specialist on the ag economics faculty at Kansas State University.

Here’s how it works: If the average county yield for a crop drops 50 percent or more below historical averages, a farmer in that county can exclude that year from their actual production history, commonly referred to as the APH. More than one year can be dropped, as long as it meets the criteria. That helps raise the farm’s APH, which means the farmer gets more coverage just by staying at their current coverage level or they can raise their yield guarantee without paying more for the additional coverage.

The yield exclusion provision was included in the 2014 Farm Bill at the insistence of Congressman Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, the former chairman of the House Ag Committee.

“The APH adjustment means everything to farmers all across the country who have suffered through year after year of devastating drought conditions,” Lucas said at the time the policy was implemented late last year. “It is the difference between having viable crop insurance for the coming year or not.”

Lucas operates a multi-generational farm in far western Oklahoma, the region that bore the brunt of the dust bowls of the 1930s and 1950s, in addition to more recent drought cycles. He has talked often about how those devastating weather patterns left psychological scars on previous generations of his family.