The USDA's Risk Management Agency recently announced changes to the organics program under the Federal crop insurance program. These changes are effective for the 2014 crop year.
The organic practice is offered for all insurable crops in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio.
Changes to the organic price used to establish insurance coverage will provide a crop insurance guarantee more reflective of organic crop values. Last year, RMA revised the organic price for corn, soybeans and processing tomatoes. For 2014, this list was expanded to include oats and mint. Also, most organic producers can now choose to use either their contract price or the established crop insurance price for coverage.
Organic transitional yields (t-yields), used by producers who do not have enough organic production history to establish insurance coverage, have been revised and separated from non-organic t-yields. Additionally, the 5% premium surcharge has been removed.
Producers of traditional non-organic spring-planted crops in Ohio who are interested in buying crop insurance, or making a change to an existing policy, can do so until the March 15 sales closing date.
Crop insurance can protect producers from natural disasters which affected crop yields and revenues. Producers have a number of coverage choices, including yield coverage, revenue protection and area risk policies. Revenue protection safeguards a producer from yield losses and price movement. Area risk plans replace the group plans of insurance (GRP/GRIP) and offer coverage based on county yield data, where available.
Brian Frieden, Director of USDA Risk Management Agency's Springfield Regional Office, urges producers to contact a crop insurance agent for details. Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents.
Agents can help producers determine what policy works best for their operation and review current policyholders' existing coverage to ensure the policy meets their needs. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers or on the RMA website at: www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents/.