WASHINGTON - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced continued progress in implementing provisions of the 2014 Farm Bill that provide new risk management options for farmers and ranchers. These improvements to crop insurance programs will provide better protection from weather disaster, market volatility and other risk factors to ensure farmers aren't wiped out by events beyond their control.

Vilsack also announced new support for beginning farmers that will make crop insurance more affordable and provide greater support when new farmers experience substantial losses. These announcements build on other recent USDA efforts to support beginning farmers.

"Crop insurance is critical to the ongoing success of today's farmers and ranchers and our agriculture economy. These improvements provide additional flexibility to ensure families do not lose everything due to events beyond their control," said Vilsack. "We're also acting to provide more support to beginning farmers and ranchers so that they can manage their risk effectively. We need to not only encourage new farmers to get into agriculture, we must ensure they're not wiped out in their riskiest initial seasons so they can remain in agriculture for years to come."

Additional flexibility for irrigated and non-irrigated enterprise units and coverage levels will be available in the spring of 2015. Additional information on implementation of these changes is available at the RMA website, www.rma.usda.gov.

The interim rule is available to the public at the Federal Register at www.ofr.gov/inspection.aspx.

More information is available on the RMA website at www.rma.usda.gov. Written comments on the rule can be submitted to www.regulations.gov by Sept. 2, 2014. All comments will be considered when the rule is made final.