Please note that the Grassroots Guide has not yet been updated to reflect changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill, which was passed and signed into law in December 2018. We are in the process of updating the Guide and expect to publish an updated version in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, please use this guide for basic information about programs and important resources and links for more information, but check with USDA for any relevant program changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. Also, check out our blog series covering highlights from the new farm bill.
From unpredictable weather to volatile market prices, farming is an inherently risky proposition, and it is important that farmers know about the tools available to them to reduce and mitigate that risk. This program seeks to help farmers, especially those in states where crop insurance has been underutilized, as well as beginning and minority farmers to better understand and access the tools available to them.
USDA’s Risk Management Agency provides funding to establish partnerships with key non-profit, public, and private organizations in order to help underserved and underinsured farmers understand the risks they face and how to manage those risks using a variety of tools of on their farms — including but not limited to crop insurance. Two programs – the Risk Management Education Partnership program and the Risk Management Education in Targeted States program – allow RMA to enter into agreements with a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations to educate uninsured and underinsured farmers about risk management tools.
Learn More About Risk Management Partnership Agreements!
The Risk Management Education Partnerships Program is a competitive cooperative partnership agreement program that funds crop insurance education and risk management training. The program is managed through USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) and aims to help agricultural producers identify and manage production, marketing, legal, financial, and human risk.
Risk Management Education Partnerships Program — The Education Partnership Program prioritizes educating (1) producers of crops currently uninsured under federal crop insurance, such as many specialty crops, and (2) underserved commodities, including livestock and forage. It also prioritizes collaborative outreach and assistance programs for limited resource, socially disadvantaged, new and beginning, and other traditionally underserved farmers and ranchers. The program’s educational goals encompass production, legal, financial, and human risk involved in farming.
Risk Management Education in Targeted States Program — The Targeted States Program is aimed at educating producers in sixteen historically underserved states about crop insurance in order to increase participation in those states. These targeted states include CT, DE, HI, ME, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, UT, VT, WV, and WY. Project applications can address:
The agreements offered through both of these programs are available to a wide variety of governmental and non-governmental organizations. Eligible applicants include non-profit organizations, State Departments of Agriculture, State Cooperative Extension Services, Federal, State or tribal agencies, groups representing producers, community-based organizations, colleges and universities, and similarly appropriate partners.
These programs have helped farmers across the country, many in states where crop insurance has been underutilized, understand how to mitigate risk and understand what crop insurance options are available to them. In 2013, the Risk Management Education Partnership program funded 60 agreements; it funded 94 agreements in 2012. In total, the two programs provided risk management education in 45 states in 2013 and 48 states in 2012.
Recently funded agreements include:
The Risk Management Education in Targeted States Program funded 17 risk management and crop insurance education projects in the 16-targeted states in 2013 and 2014. Since these states are targeted because of their past underutilization of crop insurance the funded projects are all relatively similar and focus on education farmers about crop insurance.
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation provides the funding for these two programs each year. The Targeted State program receives $5 million annually, but the specific amount available for Education Partnerships varies from year to year. In Fiscal Year 2018, the Education Partnership program has $4 million available. Grants are awarded in two funding categories: 1) up to $99,999, and 2) $100,000 and above. Funding in recent years has averaged a bit over $91,000 per project. There is a preference but not a requirement for cost sharing or matching funds.
An annual Request For Applications (RFA) is usually released by RMA in the spring and details specific priorities for the coming year, along with specific instructions for how to apply for funding. Find the most recent RFA for the Risk Management Education Partnership program on RMA’s website.
More on both programs can by found on RMA’s partnership agreements page.
These two programs were authorized by the Agriculture Risk Protection Act of 2000. Prior to Fiscal Year 2013, the Risk Management Education Partnerships program was known as the Risk Management Education and Outreach program, and was split into the Commodity Partnerships for Small Agricultural Risk Management Education Sessions program and the Community Outreach and Assistance Partnerships program. The Federal Crop Insurance Act provides mandatory funding of $12.5 million for both programs as well as other risk management activities, with not more than $5 million of that being used for the Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States program. Funding for the Education Partnerships and its predecessor program has been quite varied. While the funding is mandatory, RMA has the discretion to also spend the money on contracts to develop new products as well as on its own technology systems.
The Risk Management Partnership Agreements program was modified by the 2014 Farm Bill to add farm financial benchmarking to a long list of existing objectives that includes pest, labor, and weather risk education. Farm financial benchmarking involves comparing the performance of similar farms using data in order to identify the strengths and weaknesses of an agricultural enterprise.
Risk Management Education Partnerships Program Annual Funds
|Fiscal Year||Total Annual Funds (in millions)|
Crop Insurance Education In Targeted States
|Fiscal Year||Total Annual Funds (in millions)|
Section 522(d) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1522(d)) authorizes that Risk Management Partnerships Programs. Section 524(a)(2) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act authorizes the Education for Underserved States program (7 U.S.C. 1522(c)(1) and (e)).
Last updated in June 2018.