USDA on Thursday said it is expanding its Whole-Farm Revenue Protection insurance option to all counties in the U.S. for 2016, while also making changes to expand coverage for beginning, organic, and fruit and vegetable growers.
USDA Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden said the program allows farmers and ranchers to insure all of the commodities on their farm at once instead of one commodity at a time.
"That gives them the option of embracing more crop diversity on their farm and helps support the production of a wider variety of foods," Harden explained.
USDA's Risk Management Agency introduced the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection pilot program for a majority of counties in the 2015 insurance year.
More changes to whole-farm program
USDA also provided additional flexibility to producers by making the following changes, including:
• Beginning Farmers and Ranchers: RMA is 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% of the farm operation
• Livestock Producers: RMA removed the previous cap that limited participants to those who received 35% 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% from its previous 10% to better allow growing farms the opportunity to cover their growth in the insurance guarantee.
USDA says Whole-Farm Revenue Protection includes a 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 on the USDA Whole-Farm insurance program, visit the USDA RMA website.