New Farmers Managing Risk | USDA
USDA In Facebook USDA In Twitter Google+ USDA Blog USDA In Youtube USDA govdelivery USDA In Flickr USDA RSS
Stay Connected

Managing Risk

Agriculture is an inherently risky business. Some risks are everyday business risks; some risks are brought on by natural disasters. Producers need to regularly manage for financial, marketing, production, human resource, and legal risks.

USDA offers tools to assist producers as they meet these planning needs, including access to risk management tools, information regarding markets and risk, technical assistance coping with common risks, protection from the spread of animal and plant diseases and pests, and, when applicable, assistance recovering from disasters.


Crop Insurance

Through the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, USDA provides crop insurance to American farmers and ranchers. There are many types of insurance available for a wide variety of production - and more are constantly being added.

For more information, please visit USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) Web site.

To locate a crop insurance agent near you, please visit RMA's Agent Locator.

Producers can also utilize online tools to aid in farm risk planning or attend local training sessions available in your area: Partnership and Cooperative Agreements.

Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

The Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, or NAP, provides catastrophic-level risk protection to producers of commodities that do not have an insurance product available. NAP can provide assistance when natural disasters cause low yields, loss of inventory, or prevented planting.

Marketing Assistance

USDA's Farm Service Agency (FSA) can provide assistance managing the market risks that you as a farmer or rancher face, including price loss and disparities faced by geographically-disadvantaged producers.

Disaster Assistance

In many circumstances, USDA's FSA and Natural Resources Conservation Service can provide assistance for losses resulting in natural disasters such as drought, flood, fire, freeze, tornadoes, pest infestation, and other calamities.

If you have experienced losses, you may be eligible to receive assistance from four programs administered by FSA.

  • The Livestock Forage Disaster Program and the Livestock Indemnity Program provides payments to eligible producers for livestock deaths and grazing losses.
  • The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program provides emergency assistance to eligible producers of livestock, honeybees and farm-raised fish that have suffered losses because of disease, severe weather, blizzards and wildfires.
  • The Tree Assistance Program provides financial assistance to qualifying orchardists and nursery tree growers to replant or rehabilitate trees, bushes and vines damaged by natural disasters.

For more information, please visit the FSA Fact Sheets Web site.

Emergency Loans

FSA provides loans to restore or replace essential property damaged in the disaster, finance production losses to crops and livestock; fund essential family living and farm operating expenses, or refinance certain debts.

Disaster Set-Aside

Disaster Set-Aside can provide relief for producers who have direct loans with FSA and are unable to make the scheduled installment due, to move one full year's payment to the end of the loan.


USDA's new dairy Margin Protection Program is now available. Farmers can begin enrolling from September 2 until Nov. 28, 2014, for 2014 and 2015. The voluntary program, established by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides financial assistance to participating farmers when the margin - the difference between the price of milk and feed costs - falls below the coverage level selected by the farmer. The program gives participating dairy producers the flexibility to select coverage levels best suited for their operation. Participating farmers must remain in the program through 2018. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) also launched a new Web tool, available at, that allows dairy farmers to quickly and easily combine unique operation data and other key variables to calculate their coverage needs based on price projections.

Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC)

ARC and PLC offer financial assistance for major row crops when either commodity prices or revenues are below certain levels. ARC and PLC are available for the following covered commodities: wheat, oats, barley, corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, sunflower seed, rapeseed, canola, safflower, flaxseed, mustard seed, crambe and sesame seed, dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas, large chickpeas, and peanuts.

Ag Risk & Farm Management Library

USDA funds the web-based Ag Risk and Farm Management LibraryThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website., which serves to organize thousands of materials to help agricultural producers and professionals quickly find the information you need on risk management, marketing, financial management and more.

Risk Management Education

USDA provides funds to the regional extension risk management educationThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website. centers and to the Risk Management Agency that provide risk education and tools tailored for different regions of the country and types of operations, including crop insurance education, risk management strategies as well as other important business planning tools.

Animal Health

USDA works in a variety of ways to protect and improve the health, quality, and marketability of our nation's animals (including various wildlife), animal products, and veterinary biologics.

Plant Health

USDA vigilantly protects agriculture and the environment against pest and disease threats.

Conflicts with Wildlife

USDA's Wildlife Services are on hand to answer your questions about how to deal with problematic wildlife on your farm or ranch.

An office near you can be reached by dialing toll free: 1-866-4USDA-WS (1-866-487-3297)