USDA Expands Farm Safety Net, Offers Greater Flexibility for Beginning, Organic and ProduceThu, 27 Aug 2015 17:26:02 CDT
U.S. Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden Thursday announced that Whole-Farm Revenue Protection insurance will be available in every county in the nation in 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is also making changes to the policy to help farmers and ranchers with diversified crops including beginning, organic, and fruit and vegetable growers, better access Whole-Farm Revenue Protection.
"Whole-Farm Revenue Protection insurance allows producers who have previously had limited access to a risk management safety net, to insure all of the commodities on their farm at once instead of one commodity at a time," said Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden. "That gives them the option of embracing more crop diversity on their farm and helps support the production of a wider variety of foods."
USDA's Risk Management Agency (RMA) introduced the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection pilot program for a majority of counties in the 2015 insurance year. Starting with the 2016 insurance year, the new program will be available in all counties in the United States, a first for the federal crop insurance program.
USDA also provided additional flexibility to producers by making the following changes, including:
-- Beginning Farmers and Ranchers – RMA makes it easier for more beginning farmers and ranchers to participate in the program by reducing the required records from five to three historical years, plus farming records from the past year. Additionally, any beginning farmer and rancher may qualify by using the former farm operator's federal farm tax records if the beginning farmer or rancher assumes at least 90 percent of the farm operation
-- Livestock Producers – RMA removed the previous cap that limited participants to those who received 35 percent or less of their income from livestock production. Producers will now be able to insure up to $1 million worth of animals and animal products.
-- Expanding Operations – RMA increased the cap on historical revenue for expanding operations to 35 percent from its previous 10 percent to better allow growing farms the opportunity to cover their growth in the insurance guarantee.
Whole-Farm Revenue Protection includes a wide range of available coverage levels, provides coverage for replanting annual commodities, includes provisions that increase coverage for expanding operations, and allows the inclusion of market readiness costs in the coverage. The policy is tailored for most farms, including farms with specialty or organic commodities (both crops and livestock), or those marketing to local, regional, farm-identity preserved, specialty, or direct markets. The policy covers farms or ranches with up to $8.5 million in insured revenue.
For more information, including product availability, visit the RMA Whole-Farm Web page. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers and online at the RMA Agent Locator. Learn more about crop insurance and the modern farm safety net at www.rma.usda.gov.
Whole-Farm Revenue Protection is a provision of the 2014 Farm Bill, which builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and saving billions of taxpayer dollars. To date, USDA has implemented many provisions of this crucial legislation, providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit www.usda.gov/farmbill.
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