Crop Insurance for the Organic Farmer
The federal crop insurance program was designed to help farmers recover some portion of expected income in the advent of a crop loss or failure. As wholesale-scale organic vegetable farmer Atina Diffley notes (see box), crop insurance helps even out annual income and can reduce the stress of worrying about possible losses.
Delayed Planting Update: June 2013
Prevented Planting Insurance Provisions
Iowa State University provides a 4-page document on "Delayed and Prevented Planting Provisions."
"Having AGR-Lite insurance
planning and management
and drastically reduced our
financial risks. We no longer
need to tiptoe through the
majority of the season until the
books finally say we've
successfully gotten through the
danger zone, only to go back
on tiptoe again a month later
as the money flow reverses out
for the next seasons start-up."
Changes to Organic Crop Insurance
Read "Changes Improve Organic Crop Insurance," by MOSES Organic Specialist Harriet Behar from the May-June 2013 Organic Broadcaster
New: Secretary Vilsack's vision (May 2013)
March 7, 2013: The RMA just released a fact sheet outlining the changes to its crop insurance coverage.
March 6, 2013: Changes to Organic Crop Insurance announced by Risk Management Agency
Crop yields for 2014 will be figured differently for organic farmers than for conventional farmers, with yields of up to 35% less than conventional used for some organic crops, depending on current USDA data for regional or national yield averages for a specific organic crop. The insurance premiums paid by the organic farmer would be less than conventional if they are insured at those lower yield projections. If an organic farmer has 10 years of crop yield histories for their own organic production, those actual figures can be used. Organic farmers insurance premiums paid and any payment by the insurer could be tied to the farmers' historical organic yields but at conventional prices, unless they choose to pay extra if there is an organic price selection available for that organic crop.
The full RMA audit report and a Q and A document detailing these changes, implementation and background can be found here:
From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition blog:
Other Kinds of Federal Crop Insurance
Currently RMA provides crop insurance coverage for:
Contamination on certified, transitional or buffer land due to drift or application of prohibited substances is not considered an insured loss. Any loss due to failure to comply with the organic standards is considered an uninsured cause of loss.A few key points to using Federal Crop Insurance
Resources for Crop Insurance for organic systems:
Updated May 2013: Organic Farming Practices: Insurance Fact Sheet (USDA- Risk Management Agency)
Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite: Fact Sheet (USDA- Risk Management Agency)
The Center for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University has released a paper on organic crop insurance, including finding from analyses conducted on organic crop prices, yields, and revenues. The full report is available here.
The Price of a Good Night's Sleep: Why AGR-Lite insurance is in the
Gardens of Eagan farm budget
(Organic Broadcaster Article)
The AGR Program: Crop Insurance for Diversified Agriculture
Crop Insurance for Organic Farmers in Pennsylvania (Newsletter from PA Dept of Ag)
List of Independent Insurance Agents selling Federal Crop Insurance policies
Thanks to RMA for their support with this project.