Oct 1, 2015
New insurance program protects all crops under a single policy

Northern Michigan is a perfect place for USDA’s new Whole Farm Revenue Protection program. With their diverse fruit farms growing multiple commodities and the unpredictable weather they’ve experienced in the last few years – hail, freeze events, etc. – the region’s growers need crop insurance more than ever, said Cory Blumerick, a crop insurance specialist for GreenStone Farm Credit Services.

Blumerick, who spoke at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center, told growers that Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) provides a safety net for all of a farm’s commodities under a single insurance policy. The coverage is based on a farm’s actual revenue history, not a region-wide average. For growers of apples, cherries, peaches, grapes and other vulnerable fruit crops, WFRP offers a new means of protection, he said.

WFRP is available to growers throughout the country, but is tailored to farms with specialty or organic commodities, or farms focusing on local and direct-market sales. The greater the number of crops a farm grows, the higher the policy’s subsidy levels and premium discounts. On the other hand, all of a farm’s crops are thrown into a single pot under the policy, he said.

WFRP protects against the loss of farm revenue that you earn or expect to earn from commodities you produce during the insurance period, as well as commodities you buy for resale during that period. The liability limit for WFRP coverage is $8.5 million, Blumerick said.

In order to qualify for WFRP coverage, you must have filed taxes for your farm entity for the last five years. The first thing you’ll want to do is bring five years of your tax returns to an insurance agent, who will use the information to calculate your insurable revenue, Blumerick said. The approved amount is the lower of the expected revenue or your whole-farm historic average revenue, according to USDA.

You can buy WFRP alone or with additional federal crop insurance policies. When you buy WFRP with another policy, the WFRP premium is reduced due to the coverage provided by the other policy. If you have other federal crop insurance policies at catastrophic coverage levels, you do not qualify for WFRP, according to USDA.

The deadline to purchase WFRP coverage is March 15, but you’ll want to make a decision before Nov. 20, the deadline for purchasing Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program coverage for apples, cherries and other fruit crops, Blumerick said.

Matt Milkovich

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