USDA makes change to organic crop insurance policy

by Sustainable Food News 

Organic fruit grower Adolfo Alvarez

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency (RMA) said Thursday it has made changes to insurance policies with an Aug. 31 contract change date including the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) plan, which caters to organic producers.

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The (WFRP) plan provides one insurance policy for all commodities on a farm with up to $8.5 million in insured revenue, including farms with specialty or organic commodities - both crops and livestock, and those marketing to local, regional, farm-identity preserved, specialty, or direct markets.

Organic produce grower, Adolfo Alvarez, who markets his crop through Holtzinger Fruit in Washington’s Yakima Valley, uses WFRP to help manage his farm’s production and financial risks.

“Without crop insurance in my fruit operation, I would not have the success I do today," said Alvarez. "Like many past years, we have experienced cold and wet weather at the wrong times. Crop insurance has been there for me…it’s the real thing."

The RMA laid out the changes to the followig insurance policies:

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Whole-Farm Revenue Protection - Added a sales closing date for late fiscal year filers. See more information here.
 Apiculture Pilot Insurance Program - Expanded coverage to 19 additional states; removed the Vegetation Index (VI) and replaced with Rainfall Index (RI), as well as removed the capping process. See more information here. 
Pasture, Rangeland, and Forage - Now offering an organic price for non-irrigated organic hay for the 2018 crop year. See more information here. 
Blueberries - New practice allowed in California for blueberries grown in pots. See more information here. 
Expansion - Insurance now available for the following crops in the following counties:

  • Blueberries - Morrow, Ore.
  • Grapes - Litchfield, New London and Windham, Conn.; Queen Anne’s and Washington, Md.; Bristol, Mass.; Cumberland and Gloucester, N.J.; Adams, Berks, Chester and Schuylkill, Pa.; Albemarle, Botetourt, Charlotte, Fauquier, James City, Loudoun, Nelson, Orange, and Rappahannock, Va.
  • Pecans - Glenn, Calif.

The RMA said policyholders should reach out to their insurance provider to discuss changes to policy coverage specific to their area. The agency reminds policyholders that changes to their policy coverage must be made no later than the crop sales closing date.

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