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John Shea, 202-690-0437

ASIAN SOYBEAN RUST REMAINS A CONCERN
IN THE 2006 CROP YEAR

WASHINGTON, Apr 11, 2006 - USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) today reminded insured producers that Asian soybean rust remains a concern for the 2006 crop year in parts of the country. While crop loss due to soybean rust is a covered l oss under the Federal crop insurance program, farmers must use good farming practices by seeking and following recommendations of agricultural experts to control soybean rust. RMA further recommends that insured producers document the advice received and actions taken to combat this disease.

"Your crop insurance agent is a good source of information about the terms of your crop insurance policy," said RMA Administrator Eldon Gould. "RMA will do all we can to help producers be adequately prepared to meet the challenges presented by this disease. While a loss caused by soybean rust is an insured peril under the Federal crop insurance program, damage due to the insufficient or improper application of available disease control measures is not."

Under the terms of the Common Crop Insurance Policy, a good farming practice is one that agricultural experts agree will allow the crop to make normal progress toward maturity and produce at least the yield used to determine the production guarantee.

Failure to purchase and apply adequate control measures due to economic reasons is not an insurable cause of loss. Producers must be knowledgeable of any pending outbreaks and the control methods recommended by local agricultural experts, such as extension agents and certified crop consultants, used in their area to combat the disease.

Appropriate treatment may vary from timing of application (pre- or post-discovery of the disease), frequency, and choice of chemical or other determining factors. If crops become infected, RMA recommends that insured producers document the date of discovery of the disease, any recommendations received from agricultural experts, and actions taken regarding the application of appropriate control measures.

It is the insurance company's responsibility to verify that losses are unavoidable due to naturally occurring events. That includes verifying that producers followed good farming practices or that chemicals or application equipment were not available or natural events (for example, excessive moisture) precluded access to the crop to apply the recommended treatments in a timely fashion.

Insured producers should follow developments as to the identification and spread of Asian soybean rust disease and continue to stay informed and updated concerning appropriate treatments that may apply to their situation. Producers can find the latest information on the spread of Asian soybean rust from local experts and from USDA's website at http://www.usda.gov/ and track the movement of the infestation at http://www.sbrusa.net.

Information about Asian soybean rust control measures may be obtained from crop consultants and plant pathologists in agriculture departments of State governments, universities, and USDA's Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service who are familiar with the risks of exposure to this disease.

For more information regarding good farming practices and crop insurance protection against all covered causes of loss, including Asian soybean rust, please see the RMA website at http://www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/soybeanrust/.


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