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Biotech program netted farmers $50 million in savings in 2009

Agriculture.com Staff 01/20/2010 @ 11:43am

Reductions in U.S. crop insurance premiums have resulted in significant farmer and taxpayer savings in 2009, according to data from the pilot Risk Management Agency Biotechology Endorsement program.

U.S. corn farmers participating in the program are estimated to have saved more than $50 million in premiums, and savings to taxpayers are estimated at more than $75 million in 2009, according to a report from Monsanto Company.

The Biotechnology Endorsement pilot program lowers crop insurance premiums for irrigated and non-irrigated corn producers who plant qualifying hybrids. Monsanto Company was the innovator of the pilot Biotech Yield Endorsement program, which received Federal Crop Insurance Corporation approval in 2007 for the 2008 crop year.

The pilot launched in four states and was expanded this past year to a total of 11 states under the name Biotechnology Endorsement Program. Participation doubled to 11.8 million corn acres from 5.9 million corn acres in 2008. Corn farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin who planted eligible hybrids from Monsanto and other seed companies could qualify for a premium rate reduction.

According to Monsanto research, a significant number of qualifying acres in the program this year were planted with Monsanto triple stack hybrids.

"Using RMA data, we estimate farmers and taxpayers derived significant economic benefit from Monsanto technologies," says Monsanto corn traits marketing manager Matt Kirkpatrick. "Farmers planting qualifying corn technologies saved more than $50 million in insurance premiums, resulting in taxpayer risk subsidy savings of more than $75 million."

The cost of premiums paid by producers during the 2009 Biotechnology Endorsement program was reduced on average by more than $4.24 per acre for those farmers who planted Monsanto technologies, versus $3 per acre in 2008.

To be eligible for the premium rate reduction using Monsanto hybrids, at least 75% of the total acreage in an insured unit planted for grain, including replanted acres, must be planted to hybrids containing YieldGard VT Triple PRO, YieldGard VT Triple, or YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn 2 technologies. In 2010, program enhancements include the addition of SmartStax, the newest corn platform from Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences.

Other program enhancements include the addition of Colorado to the program, bringing the number of states participating in the program to 12; and the eligibility of irrigated acres in all 12 pilot states.

Reductions in U.S. crop insurance premiums have resulted in significant farmer and taxpayer savings in 2009, according to data from the pilot Risk Management Agency Biotechology Endorsement program.

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