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If you are new to farming, crop insurance, need a refresher or all of the above I thought we could take this opportunity to teach you about how Crop Insurance works.

Federal Crop Insurance is a big scary animal.  There are so many rules and regulations that are ever changing, but at the end of the day the foundation of the Crop Insurance program is sound.  It works for Farmers all over the United States and for a wide variety of Crops they grow.  To help us gain a better understanding of how Federal Crop Insurance works I will be leaning on my family’s history of insurance Central Montanan Winter Wheat Farmers.

For Crop Insurance purposes Winter Wheat production is measured in Bushels.

To kick things off I thought we would start with explaining a very important concept: Actual Production History (APH).

A Farmer will use his/her production history, or APH, on their Federal Crop Insurance policy.  An APH is a database made up of 10 line items.  You are required to have a minimum of 4 line items in order to figure out your Average APH.  Don’t have 4 line items worth of history?  No problem.  We can plug in a County T-Yield for each line item you are missing to come up with a minimum of 4 line items.  Then we average those line items to come up with your APH.

There are some key points to take home here – line item = 1 year of production in a given Unit/Database.  You could seed a Unit every year and your 10 line items would go back in time 10 years, or you could seed every other year and your database could go back 20 years, or any combination you can think of.  Below are some examples to shed some light:

Example One –

A producer seeds half a section of land each year and alternates the half sections every year. One year the East half is seeded and the West half is fallow. The next year the West Half is seeded and the East half is fallow. You get the idea.

The producer does this for 20 years. In his APH the 10 most recent years of production history would show up. See below:

As you can see each year there was a crop seeded in this “Unit” / “Database” so there is a line item for each year.

Example Two:

A Producer seeds half a section every other year aka Summer Fallow winter wheat. He/she does this for 20 years. In his/her APH the 10 most recent years of production history would show up, but they would go back 20 years in time. See below:

To figure out the Average you…umm…well, take the average, duh!  Don’t know how to figure out an Average?  Click here

You now know how to figure out your APH…wahoo!  However, there are lots of Options you can elect that will help you inflate your APH number.  To be continued….

I do hope you learned something. Keep in mind this is intended to build upon each entry to help you get a better understanding of the basics of Federal Crop Insurance.

Continue to check out our blog as we dive deeper into Crop Insurance to help educate you.


There are a lot of rules behind this program, so the above information is very high level.  You will want to take a deeper dive into understanding the program before making a purchasing decision.  Keep in mind the above information is for informational purposes only, and does not replace anything found in the Crop Insurance Handbook, Loss Adjustment Manual, RMA’s website, etc.  Always consult the Crop Insurance Handbook, Loss Adjustment Manual, RMA’s website, etc. before making a purchasing decision.  Any discrepancy between the above information and the policy is not intended.  The information provided in this article does not supersede policy and procedure.  Any changes to the policy and procedures may make this material obsolete.