Seeking to reduce program losses and prevent fraud and waste, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has dropped a minimum value option from the federal crop insurance program for fresh market tomatoes.
In an April 16 final rule, the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation said dropping a minimum value option should reduce program abuse and keep insurance premiums from going up for everyone.
The USDA declined to follow several suggestions from tomato marketers on ways to change the program.
Some tomato industry leaders favored raising the current replanting payments from $600 to $900 per acre, but the USDA said that no change in the replanting payment was made because the public was not allowed time to comment on the proposal.
Contrary to industry wishes, the USDA did not expand the definition of “fresh market tomatoes” to include greenhouse, hydroponic and heirloom varieties. On the other hand, the USDA did include field-grown cherry, grape, plum and roma types of tomatoes in the insurance plan.