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MU Extension is the University of Missouri’s classroom in Douglas County. We connect people to research-based education to enrich the quality of life and enhance the economic well-being of our communities. MU Extension-Douglas County is your one-stop source for practical education and information on almost anything.

MU Extension partners with the Douglas County Commission and other local organizations to provide education, information and services that meet people’s needs. The elected and appointed members of the Douglas County extension council provide guidance in identifying those needs to ensure that our educational programs are relevant, reliable and responsive.

Whether it’s resources for yourself or your family, farm, business or community, we invite you to explore our website, call or email to learn how we can help you.


Forage insurance gains users in big dry spells

  • Published: Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Crop insurance? Sure. Forage insurance? Not so much. Recent droughts and short hay crops brought attention to forage losses.

Pasture, rangeland and forage (PRF) insurance started in 2009. But offerings didn’t attract many buyers until recent dry spells, says University of Missouri economist Ryan Milhollin.

Farmers face a looming deadline of Nov. 15 for PRF insurance next year.

There weren’t many insurance buyers in the 2012 drought, Milhollin says. Those who bought forage insurance received $3.81 back for a dollar paid in premiums when averaged across the state.

That stirred interest. The next year, insured acres tripled in Missouri.

By last year, insured acres grew tenfold.

PRF insurance comes from USDA Risk Management Agency. “Crop insurance agents are the best source of information,” Milhollin says. He admits details can seem complex.

Agents help customize coverage to fit a farm’s need. Loss payments are not based on actual production. Instead, payout is triggered by a rainfall index for a region. Pay comes when rainfall drops below a coverage level in the long-term rainfall index.

The rain index is not based on actual rain at the insured farm. It averages data from nearby weather stations. It could be that a farmer incurs forage loss on a field but isn’t paid.

Premiums go up as coverage increases. Amount of coverage varies by intended use and location. County base values for grazing range from $37.50 to $63.60 per acre in Missouri. Options exist for dryland hay, irrigated hay and organic hay acres as well. Also, producers can increase their coverage up to 150 percent of the county base value for more productive land and forages.

Rainfall grids don’t follow state or county geographic lines. Grids are about 17 miles by 13 miles across Missouri. Those buying insurance pick a grid for the insured pasture or hayfield.

Farmers elect their own rainfall coverage. Those vary from 70 to 90 percent of the expected rainfall index. Federal subsidies differ by coverage. Cost-share covers 51 percent on 90 percent coverage, but pays 59 percent on 70 or 75 percent coverage.

Here’s another twist: You pick two-month increments to cover in the year for your policy. January-February differs from July-August, as might be expected.

With the complexity, Milhollin urges farmers to contact local crop insurance vendors soon. Go in before the Nov. 15 deadline.

The Risk Management Agency website(opens in new window) lists agents by state and county. MU Extension specialists have general information. An MU Extension guide on PRF insurance is available for free download at in new window).

Crop insurance agents help farmers understand options and purchase this insurance.

Writer: Duane Dailey

Greenhouse and High Tunnel Workshop

This hands-on educational event will be held Oct. 17-18 in Mountain Grove. Cost is $50 per person and seating is limited.    Event flyer (PDF)

Missouri Land Grant Compact effective Fall 2018

Think you can't afford to send your child to Mizzou? The new Missouri Land Grant Compact could change that. Find out if your child is eligible.

*Ag Day in the Ozarks *SEEKING VENDORS* Saturday, October 20th in Gainesville                                          

Missouri Land Grant Compact effective Fall 2018

Think you can't afford to send your child to Mizzou? The new Missouri Land Grant Compact could change that. Find out if your child is eligible.

Farm custom rates updated

Our guide lists prices for nearly 150 farm services.

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You can access many of our presentations and related resource materials online. 


July 19, 2018 Missouri's Native Plants: Creating a Pollinator’s Paradise — Master Gardener Meeting, Marshfield, Mo.

May 14, 2018 Safety on the Farm — Missouri Cattlemens Association Meeting, Taneyville, Mo.

Apr. 18 - May 4, 2018 Gardening Class Series — Marshfield, Mo.

Mar. 26, 2018 Christian County Livestock and Forage Conference — Clever, Mo.

Mar. 15, 2018 Composting and Mulching —  Master Gardener Meeting, Marshfield, Mo.

Feb. 12, 2018 Karst Topography and Soils — Master Naturalist Training, Joplin, Mo.

Feb. 8, 2018 Taney County Livestock and Forage Conference — Forsyth, Mo.

Jan. 27, 2018 Webster County Diversified Agriculture Conference — Marshfield, Mo.

Check out the article >>> Forage Focus

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The faculty and staff of the Douglas County Extension Center are available to assist you with unbiased, research-based information on a variety of topics. If you can't find what you are looking for on our website, give us a call at 417-683-4409 or email

MU Extension in Douglas County

PO Box 668
Ava, MO  65608

Phone: 417-683-4409