November 16, 2017

Irrigated Practice Guidelines: Updates and Reminders

Guidelines have been provided by FCIC to enable insureds to properly report planted or perennial acreage insured under an irrigated practice consistent with their crop insurance policy. These guidelines are to be utilized to document whether, at the time insurance attaches, there is a reasonable expectation of receiving adequate water to carry out a good irrigation practice for acreage reported under the irrigated practice.


  1. Be able to document and demonstrate that there is a reasonable expectation of adequate water;
  2. Be able to document and demonstrate good irrigation practices;
  3. Be able to demonstrate they have adequate irrigation equipment and facilities;
  4. Provide verifiable documentation to the AIP by the Acreage Reporting Date that the irrigation water supply has replenished after a failure of the irrigation water supply prevented the insured from planting or the insured had a failure of irrigation water supply; and
  5. Keep separate production records for acreage insured under an irrigated practice from acreage insured under a practice other than irrigated (or with no practice applicable) and uninsured acreage.


Determination of Reasonable Expectation of Adequate Water

Factors to be considered when determining and documenting whether a reasonable expectation of adequate water existed include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Most recent 10-year historical average of available water and any applicable forecasting data from a credible authority responsible for monitoring and forecasting such conditions such as Irrigation Districts, State Department of Water Resources, Bureau of Reclamation, Water Boards, etc.
  2. Water supply availability, quality, and usage;
  3. Pump efficiency and capacity;
  4. Water requirements (amount and timing) for all irrigated crops;
  5. Water rights available to the insured (primary, secondary, urban versus agricultural use, etc.);
  6. Contingency plans to handle water shortages;
  7. Acres to be irrigated;
  8. Ownership of the water source including the legal entitlement or rights to the water (state or Federal versus landowner or other private party);
  9. Meters, measuring devices, and methods used to monitor good irrigation practice;
  10. Soil types, soil moisture levels, and pre-plant irrigation needs;
  11. Water conservation methods, devices used, and plans utilized (if applicable);
  12. Past crop planting history and tillage methods;
  13. Supplemental water availability and usage including return flow or any precipitation which would normally be received, after insurance attaches;
  14. Recommendations from local Cooperative Extension Service (CES), National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), or other source recognized by CES or NRCS to be an expert in the area regarding irrigation and crop production;
  15. Decreased water allocation resulting from the diversion of water for environmental, public use or priority, or other reasons.
  16. Management practices used or to be used to carry out efficient irrigation, as applicable.


For a complete overview of the Irrigated Practice Guidelines, including what happens if there is a failure to qualify or carry out good farming practices, please reference the Crop Insurance Handbook (FCIC-18010) or the Document and Supplemental Standards Handbook (FCIC – 24040).

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