The National Cotton Council has submitted comments to a Federal Crop Insurance Corp. (FCIC) proposed rule that will expand the availability of area-wide insurance products.

Currently, area-wide insurance products for revenue and yield, known as Group Risk Income Protection (GRIP) and Group Risk Plan (GRP), respectively, are offered on a limited basis.

The NCC expressed support for FCIC’s efforts to expand the offering of area-wide insurance products.

In the comments, the NCC urged that the new area-wide protection be available for all counties with upland cotton production.

For certain counties, it may be necessary to aggregate counties into a larger geographical area. In those cases, FCIC should aggregate by the minimum amount necessary in order to allow the area-wide program to remain as localized as possible.

In voicing their agreement with FCIC’s decision to broaden the sources of yield data beyond the estimates produced by USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, the NCC stressed that there be sufficient transparency regarding any adjustments to the yield data or methods used to resolve discrepancies between various USDA data.

In addition, FCIC is urged to review expected county yields with a goal of insuring that long-term trends produce expected county yields that are indicative of current levels.

With the use of additional data sources, FCIC is encouraged to explore the ability to expand the number of counties for which separate area-wide products can be offered for irrigated and non-irrigated practices.

Among other points, the NCC urged FCIC to offer the area-wide products at coverage levels up to 95 percent.

Complete comments can be viewed from the NCC’s home page,