North Carolina farmers can purchase whole-farm revenue protection insurance through the sales closing date of Jan. 31 for the 2006 growing season.

The AGR-Lite Insurance Program allows farmers to guarantee a portion of their farm income, and insures crops that previously were not covered under traditional crop insurance.

A number of insurance providers will be offering coverage for the 2006 season, including Ace Property and Casualty Insurance Company (Rain and Hail LLC), Rural Community Insurance Company and Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company.

For 2006, farmers with a gross income of up to $2.05 million are eligible for coverage, with the maximum amount of coverage increased from $250,000 to $1 million.

“Many North Carolina farmers have experienced enough natural disasters in the past few years to appreciate the type of coverage this insurance provides,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We are fortunate to have this insurance in North Carolina. I encourage farmers to talk with one of these insurance providers to learn more about this product, and see what is the right amount of coverage for their farming operations.”

The plan offers protection against revenue losses due to unavoidable natural disasters and market fluctuations. Most farm-raised crops, animals and animal products are eligible for coverage, and the plan can be used in conjunction with other federal crop insurance programs.

This marks the second year farmers have been able to purchase whole-farm coverage through AGR-Lite. North Carolina was the first Southeastern state selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency to participate in the program, and is one of only 17 states offering the program.