SmartStax Hybrids = Insurance Cost Cut

U.S. growers who plant corn hybrids containing SmartStax in 2010 will be eligible to reduce their crop insurance premium rate as part of the Pilot Biotechnology Endorsement approved by USDA’s Federal Crop Insurance Corp. (FCIC) Board of Directors. SmartStax is a multi-event technology developed by Monsanto Co. and Dow AgroSciences LLC.

The Pilot Biotechnology Endorsement (BE) lowers crop insurance premium rates in 2010 for irrigated and non-irrigated corn growers who meet the program eligibility requirements and plant certain qualifying hybrids in Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

“The addition of SmartStax hybrids to the Pilot Biotechnology Endorsement recognizes that the technology contributes to reduced production risk for U.S. farmers,” says Matt Kirkpatrick, Monsanto Corn Traits marketing manager. “U.S. farmers who plant SmartStax in 2010 will not only be able to increase their yield through the 5 percent refuge allowed for the technology in these states, but they will also have the opportunity to save on crop insurance on both irrigated and non-irrigated acres.”

“Participation by corn growers in the Pilot BE program in 2009 is expected to be greater than 2008 participation levels, and growers have experienced the yield improvement and risk reduction of stacked trait technologies,” ads Ben Kaehler, Dow AgroSciences commercial leader. “The addition of SmartStax in 2010 will expand growers’ trait options to receive a premium rate reduction on qualifying acres under next year’s Pilot Biotechnology Endorsement.”

Inclusion of SmartStax in the Pilot Biotechnology Endorsement is one of three key actions USDA’s FCIC Board of Directors took on Sept. 16 that will benefit farmers who plant qualifying corn technologies, which now includes SmartStax.

Other actions by the FCIC Board of Directors include adding Colorado to the list of pilot states that participate in the program, bringing the number from 11 to 12 states; and expanding the premium rate reduction to eligible irrigated acres in all 12 states. Previously, irrigated acres planted to qualifying hybrids in Kansas and Nebraska were part of the program. For 2010, SmartStax hybrids and Monsanto qualifying triple stack technologies will be eligible for a crop insurance premium rate reduction in Colorado. Also, at this time, SmartStax and Monsanto qualifying triple stack technologies will qualify for premium rate reduction on irrigated acreage in all 12 states participating in the Pilot Biotechnology Endorsement.

According to Monsanto, to be eligible for the premium rate reduction using Monsanto hybrids, at least 75 percent of the total insured corn acres, including replanted acres, on a unit basis must be corn for grain planted to hybrids containing SmartStax, Genuity YieldGard VT Triple PRO, YieldGard VT Triple, or YieldGard Plus with Roundup Ready Corn 2 technologies. Participation in this program does not replace the importance of growers respecting EPA-mandated refuge requirements.

(Sources: Dow AgroSciences, Monsanto Co.)

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