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Risk Management/Crop Insurance Education Program

Organic Farmers

USDA Guidelines Provide Crop Insurance for Organic Farming Practices

Organic farming has become one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. agriculture.* USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recognizes organic farming practices as good farming practices and continues to move forward in improving crop insurance coverage for organic producers and producers transitioning to organic production, so they will have viable and effective risk management options available to them (see Fact Sheet).

*Source: Economic Research Service. USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service’s 2008 Organic Production Survey counted 14,540 organic farms and ranches in the United States, comprising 4.1 million acres of land. Of these farms, 10,903 are USDA certified and 3,637 are exempt from certification.

Coverage Availability         

RMA currently provides coverage for—1) certified organic acreage; 2) transitional acreage (acreage on which organic farming practices are being followed that does not yet qualify to be designated as certified organic acreage); and 3) buffer zone acreage.

Insurance can only be provided for any crop grown using organic farming practices when a premium rate for the organic practice is contained within the actuarial documents or there is an approved written agreement.

Prices, Insurance Dollar Amounts, and Premiums

Beginning in 2011, separate organic price elections, projected prices, and harvest prices, as applicable, are available for: cotton, corn, soybeans, and tomatoes (processing). For all other crops, the price elections insurance amounts, projected prices, and harvest prices that apply to both certified organic and transitional crops will be the price elections, insurance amounts, projected prices, and harvest prices, as applicable. RMA publishes for the crop grown using conventional means, for the current crop year.

Note: All approved organic price elections, projected prices, and harvest prices will be available on the Actuarial Information Brower under the ‘prices’ tab. To see estimated prices based on current market information for organic corn, cotton, and soybeans, check out the “Price Discovery Reporting Application”. Both the Actuarial Information Brower and the Price Discovery Tool are available under the ‘Information Browser’ on http://www.rma.usda.gov/tools/.

Where To Purchase and to Find Insurable Crops

You should talk to your crop insurance agent to get specific information and deadlines. To find a list of crop insurance agents click here.

Revenue Policies

Massachusetts Fruit & Vegetable growers also have an option of purchasing a revenue based policy.  Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) is a whole-farm revenue protection plan of insurance which protects against low revenue due to unavoidable natural disasters and/or market fluctuations. For more information on  Whole Farm Revenue Protection, click here, to access the WFRP fact sheet.

Non-Insured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP)

Growers of fruit and vegetable crops, not covered by crop insurance, can insure their crops through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Non-Insured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP). NAP provides catastrophic coverage at 50% of the potential production and 55% of the established price. The 2014 Farm Bill provides for "buy-up" coverage under NAP.  Under the "buy-up" provisions, a producer can insure up to 65% of a crop's potential production at up to 100% of the crop's established price.  For more information including signup deadlines, visit your local FSA office.