A company called Crop1 Insurance has been authorized by USDA to exclusively sell federal crop insurance for the 2003 growing season. Its rates will be discounted up to 10% from standard government crop insurance programs.

The savings would be equal to adding an extra bushel or two to a farmer's yield per acre, depending on his crop insurance plan. The savings are available without modifying a farmer's existing coverage.

The Premium Discount Plan (PDP) will allow farmers to save money on their existing coverage or increase their coverage at the same cost, says Steve Griffin, Crop1's chief operating officer.

PDP is available to farmers through Crop1 and a network of about 250 ag professionals. PDP will also be available through a select number of independent insurance agents.

Crop1 is the first company to apply for a premium discount directed to benefit farmers. To get approval, it had to show necessary cost savings while adequately protecting the program's integrity and the interests of its policyholders.

Other companies, if they can show savings, may follow Crop1, but they won't be able to get approval for this spring's crop insurance season.

In its inaugural year, PDP is available in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and North Dakota.

For more information, call toll-free 866-765-0552 or go online at www.crop1ins.com.