Details of a new risk management option– known as Whole Farm Revenue Protection – designed to offer flexible coverage options for specialty crop, organic and diversified crop producers were recently released by USDA.
“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,” said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. “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. More flexibility also empowers farmers and ranchers to make a broader range of decisions with their land, helping them succeed and strengthening our agriculture economy.”
Whole-Farm insurance allows farmers to insure all crops on their farm at once, rather than insuring commodity by commodity. In the past, many fruit and vegetable crops have not had crop insurance programs designed for them —making it less attractive for a farmer 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 2014 Farm Bill requires a whole-farm crop insurance policy option, and paves the way for the Risk Management Agency (RMA) to make it broadly available to specialty crop, organic, and diversified growers. The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Board of Directors (FCIC Board) approved the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection pilot policy for RMA to offer it through the federal crop insurance program in 2015.
USDA has been strengthening crop insurance by providing more risk management options for farmers and ranchers. The policy offers coverage levels from 50 to 85 percent; recognizing farm diversification through qualification for the highest coverage levels along with premium rate discounts for multiple crop diversification.