Benefits of diversity explored in webinar on Whole-Farm Revenue Protection crop insurance, May 21

A webinar on “The Benefits of Diversity: Another Look at Whole-Farm Revenue Protection in Iowa and Midwest” will be held Thursday, May 21, from 12-1:00 p.m.(CST), offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology.

The webinar’s focus will be on how Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) may improve coverage and lower insurance cost for field crop farms that have, or a contemplating, adding greater diversity to their cropping systems or even considering new livestock production.

View the recorded version of this webinar at ATTRA’s YouTube site.

According to the webinar’s presenter, NCAT Agriculture Policy and Funding Research Director Jeff Schahczenski, Iowa and Midwest producers had their first chance to sign up for the new WFRP crop insurance program in early 2015. A relatively small number of producers opted to participate in Iowa and the Midwest.

“Numbers were much greater in other states and regions, where similar products have been available prior to the new WFRP crop insurance program, created under the 2014 Farm Bill,” says Schahczenski. “We want to make sure that Midwestern farmers have the best information to consider this new program that expands insurance options for specialty crops, organic, and diversified crop and livestock producers.”

WFRP offers a whole-farm premium subsidy to farms with two or more commodities that is the same as those provided for single crop policies, as long as minimum diversification requirements are met. The WFRP policy offers a higher premium subsidy for diversified and specialty crops than previous crop insurance products.  Coverage levels can range anywhere from 50 to 85 percent, depending on the level producers feel is appropriate for their businesses.

This new insurance program will also be the focus of two field days this summer in Bremer County in eastern Iowa on June 28 and in Polk County in central Iowa on August 1, co-sponsored by NCAT, the Iowa Organic Association, and the Iowa Farmers Union. More details about the field days will be coming soon at www.ncat.org/midwest.

“I have been working on improving whole-farm revenue crop insurance for over seven years, so that diversified farmers have the same opportunities to insure their farm risks as conventional farmers,” says Schahczenski, who has special expertise in alternative crop insurance products. “NCAT and our partner organizations have worked with RMA to improve the diversity of crops and livestock products that can be insured and to help reduce the whole farm premium calculation costs. Now we want to help producers understand and take advantage of their new options.”

NCAT’s Midwest Regional Office in Iowa was awarded a Risk Management Education Partnership cooperative agreement through the RMA. More information about the WFRP pilot program is available on the USDA Risk Management Agency website at www.rma.usda.gov.

All federal crop insurance is sold solely through Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs), who are required to offer the WFRP pilot program to all eligible persons in the pilot area. The signup deadline has already passed for the 2015 crop year, but producers should contact their agents if they want to consider this new option for the future.

The parties involved are equal opportunity providers.

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