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NCAT Releases Whole Farm Insurance Assessment Tool - Seeks Farmer Evaluators

For Immediate Release
August 2010

Artwork by Scott Patton NRCS
NCAT Seeks Farmer Evaluators
Interested in helping us evaluate the tool? Selected farmer evaluators will be paid for up to $280 for no more than six hours of work in evaluating the tool. Please contact Jeff Schahczenski at 406-494-4572 or to see how you can help.

Kathleen Hadley, Executive Director of the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), announced the release of a new tool for farmers to assess the usefulness of a federally subsidized whole farm insurance product called Adjusted Gross Revenue Lite (AGR-Lite). The user-friendly software tool simplifies access to this relatively new kind of insurance that protects the revenue of the farm rather than the specific commodities produced. In addition NCAT is seeking farmers who will formally evaluate the new tool.

This tool is available in CD format from NCAT by calling 1-800-346-9140.
The tool is the culmination of a three-year project supported by the United States Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency (RMA). Selected farmer evaluators will be paid for up to $280 for no more than six hours of work in evaluating the tool.

"What is exciting about this project is that NCAT partnered with the Computer Science Department of Montana Tech of the University of Montana to assist in the project development," said Jeff Schahczenski, the NCAT project leader. This tool was designed and tested by farmers using an advanced software development process and is very farm friendly. The tool will assist farmers to assess whether this insurance product is a valuable way to buffer their farm revenue from the impacts of weather and the price volatility of their products.

"One of the difficulties that prevents more farmers from using AGR-Lite is that it is a more complicated application process than standard crop insurance products. Many of the farmers who could use the farm insurance product are often those with smaller or highly diversified farms who do not produce only standard commodity products for which other insurance is readily available," Schahczenski said. " This new whole farm revenue insurance will especially serve the needs of beginning, socially-disadvantaged, specialty, organic and direct market farmers and ranchers. These are the farmers and ranchers NCAT has served for over 30 years."

Because not all farmers have access to high-speed Internet connections, the tool is currently available in CD format. Beginning early next year, it will also be accessible in a web-based format. Besides seeking farmer evaluators, NCAT may be able to provide workshops demonstrating the tool. Further information on being an evaluator of the tool and hosting possible workshops centered on the opportunities for risk management based on AGR-Lite can be obtained by calling Schahczenski at 406-494-4572 or

Farmers interested in helping us evaluate the tool can contact Jeff Schahczenski at 406-494-4572 or

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