USDA to offer crop insurance to specialty crop, organic producers

05/21/2014 12:14:00 PM
Vicky Boyd

Florida corn freezeDoug OhlemeierA pilot crop insurance program would insure specialty crop growers against natural disasters, such as the 2014 freeze that hit south Florida corn producers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin a pilot crop insurance program for organic and specialty crop producers before the start of the 2015 season.

The policy, called "whole-farm revenue protection," will offer coverage options for specialty crop, organic and diversified crop producers, according to a news release.

The program will allow farmers to insure all crops on their farm at once rather than commodity by commodity.

In the past, many fruit and vegetable crops had no crop insurance programs.

Most of the insurance programs involved widely grown commodities, such as wheat and corn.

The new policy will be available where AGR and AGR-Lite are currently offered.

AGR, short for adjusted gross revenue, provides protection against low revenue due to unavoidable natural disasters and market fluctuations.

AGR-Lite is a whole-farm revenue-protection insurance plan similar to AGR but for smaller-scale operations.

The programs will be expanded to other counties as data become available for underwriting and ratemaker.

The pilot program will be administered by USDA's Risk Management Agency, which will offer it through the 2015 federal crop insurance program.

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