Sign-up deadline approaches to insure diverse crops

Anna Johnson
Center for Rural Affairs policy manager
Anna Johnson

Farmers face risk from a variety of sources — weather, disease, markets, financial systems.

While crop insurance offers a valuable option for many farmers to manage some of that risk, some crops, such as many organic, small grain, fruit, and vegetable crops, as well as livestock, can’t be covered by traditional crop insurance in most Midwest counties.

For farmers seeking to diversify their incomes, trying to incorporate these crops into their rotations and operations might seem appealing. But, without clear crop insurance options, many farmers are not willing to take on that additional risk.

A federal crop insurance product available now, however, makes taking on that risk easier.

Whole Farm Revenue Protection is available nationally and can be purchased in addition to other federal crop insurance products. As a federal crop insurance product, insurance premiums are subsidized.

Whole Farm Revenue Protection saw several improvements as part of the 2018 farm bill, including the plan now covering up to $2 million in revenue from livestock or from greenhouse production.

Another improvement involves how a farm’s historic revenue is calculated. In order to enroll, farmers work with their insurance agent and provide five years of revenue records to determine their expected level of revenue in the coming year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture now allows farmers to drop the lowest year of revenue from the last five years in making that calculation, so the coverage they purchase for the coming year is not artificially low.

The deadline to purchase a policy is March 15. Farmers and ranchers should contact a crop insurance agent soon to learn more.