Pilot insurance program offered for fruit and vegetable growers

05/22/2014 03:24:00 PM
Tom Karst

New crop insurance options for diversified fruit and vegetable growers will be available beginning this year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The policy, called Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, will provide flexible coverage options for specialty crop, organic and diversified crop producers, according to a news release from USDA.

The program will be implemented in selected counties across the country and will expand in availability over the next several years, according to the release.

“Crop insurance has been the linchpin of the farm safety net for years and continues to grow as the single most important factor in protecting producers of all sizes from the effects of unpredictable weather,” Vilsack said in the release. “Providing farmers the option to insure their whole farm at once gives farmers more flexibility, promotes crop diversity, and helps support the production of healthy fruits and vegetables.”

The whole-farm insurance option allows growers to insure all crops on their farm at once, rather than insuring commodity by commodity. In the past, the USDA said many fruit and vegetable crops have not had crop insurance programs designed for them. That made it less attractive for a grower that primarily planted a commodity crop like wheat or corn to use another part of his or her land for growing fruits and vegetables or other specialty crops. The new insurance option will give farmers greater flexibility to make planting decisions on their land.

The whole-farm crop insurance policy option was mandated by the 2014 farm bill, according to the release. The legislation will allow the Risk Management Agency to make it broadly available to specialty crops, organic, and diversified growers.

The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board of Directors approved the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection pilot policy for the Risk Management Agency to offer it through the federal crop insurance program in 2015.

The whole-farm crop insurance policy provides flexibility to meet the needs of specialty crop growers, organic producers and those with diversified farms, and who have farm production and revenue history, including five years of historic farm tax records, according to the release.

The policy offers coverage levels from 50% to 85% and recognizes farm diversification through qualification for the highest coverage levels. The insurance option also offers premium rate discounts for multiple crop diversification, according to the release.

RMA plans to release information on the policy this summer when it becomes available. This information will be announced on the RMA website at www.rma.usda.gov,, according to the release.



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