'Improved' insurance option: 2016 changes to Whole Farm Revenue Protection
A good thing -- the Whole Farm Revenue Protection program -- has gotten even better in 2016, crop insurance agents and others say. "We think it will be an improved program," said James Robinson, research and policy associate with the North Caroli...
A good thing -- the Whole Farm Revenue Protection program -- has gotten even better in 2016, crop insurance agents and others say.
"We think it will be an improved program," said James Robinson, research and policy associate with the North Carolina-based Rural Advancement Foundation International.
Robinson was among the presenters in a Jan. 11 webinar hosted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute and the Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service. The presentation examined how Whole Farm Revenue Protection can benefit any farmer, not only organic producers.
"This is a very important program," said Margaret Krome, policy program director for the Wisconsin-based Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.
A key feature of the program, known as the "commodity count," is that federal subsidy is tied to the number of different commodities that a producer grows, says Roxann Brixen, a Wisconsin-based agent for Great American Insurance, who spoke during the webinar.
The more crops producers grow, the larger the subsidy they might receive, she said.
Ag producers have other crop insurance options, including multi-peril crop insurance, or MPCI, and the noninsured crop disaster assistance program, or NAP. But while MPCI and NAP can be useful for many producers, there are limitations in value for some farmers, Robinson said.
Whole Farm Revenue Protection gives more options for diversified, organic and specialty crop producers, who experts generally say were underserved by existing crop insurance in most parts of the country.
So, the 2014 farm bill directed the Risk Management Agency, which administers the federal crop insurance program, to develop programs that support farm diversification. Whole Farm Revenue Protection provides a risk management safety net for all commodities on the farm under one insurance policy and, for the first time in 2016, is available in all counties nationwide.
Other changes for 2016 include:
- Expanding farm operations can qualify for as much as a 35 percent increase in coverage.
- New recordkeeping aids are available online.
- Producers with as much as $1 million in expected revenue from animals and animal products might qualify.
- Beginning farmers and ranchers might need fewer years of tax records to qualify.
Crop insurance is sold and delivered only through private crop insurance agents. A list of them can be found at all USDA Service Centers and online at rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html.