Ask the Expert: A Q&A on RMA’s Weaned Calf Risk Protection Program with Cody McCann

In this Ask the Expert, Cody McCann answers questions about the Risk Management Agency’s Weaned Calf Risk Protection program that provides a new insurance option for livestock producers.

Cody is a Risk Management Specialist and has worked for the Risk Management Agency for 10 years. He knew he wanted to make an impact on the agriculture industry, so he applied for several USDA positions after graduating with an animal science degree from Missouri State University. His family operates a registered Limousin cattle herd in southern Missouri.

Person shaving cattle
Cody worked for the RMA Regional Office in Topeka for seven years before becoming a Risk Management Specialist.

What is the Weaned Calf Risk Protection Program?

Weaned Calf Risk Protection is a new insurance pilot program for 2024. The program provides beef cow/calf producers protection from revenue losses on their calves up to weaning age.

What states are eligible through the pilot program?

Right now, RMA is piloting Weaned Calf Risk Protection in all counties in Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Texas.

What types of losses are covered?

Weaned Calf Risk Protection covers yield losses from:

  • Adverse weather conditions;
  • Fire;
  • Wildlife;
  • Earthquake;
  • Volcanic eruption;
  • Disease, but not damage due to insufficient or improper application of disease control measures;
  • Other causes directly damaging pastures and other forms of grazing (e.g. insects provided acceptable control measures were followed, etc.); and
  • Calf death due to a covered peril occurring during the insurance period (e.g., disease, freezing temperatures, flood, fire, hail, predation, etc.).

Producers who elect Revenue Protection or Revenue Protection-Harvest Price Exclusion plans of insurance will also receive coverage for revenue losses due to declines in harvest price from the projected price.

When does coverage start through this new pilot program?

Weaned Calf Risk Protection coverage attaches to a producer’s calves shortly after the calf is born, when the producer notifies their insurance agent to add the calf to their calf report. The calf report can be modified multiple times during the calving period to add additional calves born.

What kind of cattle are covered?

Weaned Calf Risk Protection covers spring born calves (born February 1 through July 31) that are born on the producer’s operation. The calves must be beef type calves and would expect to have feeder cattle grades of medium or large frame and thickness of 1 or 2.

How do I apply? Is there an application deadline?

Weaned Calf Risk Protection can be purchased from a crop insurance agent. If you need assistance locating an agent, you can use the agent locator tool.

The deadline to purchase a policy is January 31, 2024.

Is there a fee?

Weaned Calf Risk Protection does charge an insurance premium for coverage. The amount will vary depending on your location and the terms of coverage that you elect. A crop insurance agent can help you obtain a premium quote, or you may use the cost estimator tool.

Are there any plans to expand the pilot program?

Weaned Calf Risk Protection, like other pilot programs, is in a stage where we review program performance and make determinations on modifications, including potential expansions of the pilot.

Where can I find more information?

More information on Weaned Calf Risk Protection can be obtained from a crop insurance agent, or RMA’s Livestock Page. You can also learn more by viewing an informational session on Weaned Calf Risk Protection. To learn more about the full range of livestock risk management options, you can view a recent Virtual Livestock Roadshow recording.


Cassie Neusch is a Public Affairs Specialist for USDA's Farm Production and Conservation Mission Area