The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has noted that interest in crop insurance has been steadily increasing among producers. Organic and specialty crop growers have been purchasing insurance coverage at higher rates in recent years. USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has highlighted several improvements made to existing insurance options for producers. USDA believes that expansions made to coverage options, along with new coverage opportunities have been the driving factors for the increase.
“We recognize the necessity to adapt insurance options to meet agricultural producers’ needs. Our work in recent years to support specialty crop and organic producers shows our commitment to America’s farmers and ranchers,” RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy said in a press release. “Specialty crop and organic producers play a pivotal role in providing fresh, local and healthful food and fiber to our nation.”
Recent reports from RMA detail some of the enhancements made for insurance options for organic crops, along with fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. Adjustments made to crop insurance offerings came about as a result of the 2018 Farm Bill, as well as industry input and research. Over a 30-year period, liabilities for insured specialty crops increased from $1 billion to more than $20 billion. Liabilities for insured organic crops also increased substantially between 1990 and 2020. The number of policies doubled during that time period, with liabilities increasing from $207 million to more than $1.7 billion.
Some examples of the new crop insurance options include specific coverage for California and Florida citrus. The new Hurricane Insurance Protection – Wind Index is also a new insurance plan designed to help protect against crop losses incurred due to hurricanes. The Production and Revenue History program is also a new insurance option that was developed to provide specialty and organic crops with revenue coverage similar to field crops. Significant improvements have also been made to Whole-Farm Revenue Protection plans, as well as overall hemp insurance options.