National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) past-president Karl Scronce has urged the administrator of the Risk Management Agency (RMA) to take steps to ensure discounts due to falling numbers irregularities are included in crop insurance coverage for the 2011 year. The so-called "falling numbers" test is typically done at elevators to examine wheat quality. It specifically measures the amount of enzyme activity in a wheat kernel which is an early indicator of sprout.

Discounts due to falling numbers are not fully considered in crop insurance, leaving growers unable to recover any portion of that quality loss through risk-management products in those years they experience the quality problem.

NAWG staff and grower-leaders have been talking with the agency for a number of months about the issue, which particularly affects growers in the Northern Plains and the Pacific Northwest. RMA is working to finalize special provisions for the 2011 crop insurance year, and, in a letter sent recently, Scronce described the necessity of re-examining how the falling numbers issue is treated.

The letter said, in part: “RMA has been working closely with the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in order to utilize the falling number discount charts used by that agency for purposes of administering the commodity loan program. …We urge RMA and FSA to work closely together to make this process as streamlined and comprehensive as possible in order to provide needed consistency for our growers.” Scronce's letter is available in full at www.wheatworld.org/riskmanagement.