Webinar to Explore Benefits of Diversity in Whole-Farm Revenue Crop Insurance

A free 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 to 1 p.m.(CST), offered by the National Center for Appropriate Technology.

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

To register for the free NCAT WFRP webinar: http://www.ncat.org/events/

NCAT is a national nonprofit that champions small-scale, local, and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities, and protect natural resources.

According to the webinar’s presenter, NCAT Agriculture Policy and Funding Research Director Jeff Schahczenski, Iowa and Midwest producers have had their first chance to sign up for the new Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (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.

“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,” Schahczenski said.

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.

The webinar will be recorded for future viewing online. The parties involved are equal opportunity providers.

WFRP Field Days in Iowa This Summer

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.

Other Resources

NCAT has a 4-page “Primer on Whole-Farm Revenue Protection Crop Insurance: New for Iowa Producers in 2015” that can be downloaded for free.

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 http://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. A list of approved crop insurance agents by state can be found at: http://www3.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents/companies/indexCI.cfm .

Contacts:

Jeff Schahczenski, NCAT Agriculture Policy and Funding Research Director, jeffs@ncat.org, 406-494-8636

Ann Y. Robinson, NCAT Midwest Regional Office Director, annr@ncat.org, 479-587-3474

Since 1976, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has been helping people by championing small-scale, local and sustainable solutions to reduce poverty, promote healthy communities and protect natural resources. In partnership with businesses, organizations, individuals and agricultural producers, NCAT is working to advance solutions that will ensure the next generation inherits a world that has clean air and water, energy production that is efficient and renewable, and healthy foods grown with sustainable practices. More information about its programs and services is available at www.ncat.org or by calling 1-800-ASK-NCAT.

Crop Cycle

crop cycle save the date-page-001

The Illinois Organic Growers Association will be hosting a bike-to-farm tour event this fall in Champaign County. Take a ride through 7 organic farms and experience the beautiful views of the countryside, enjoy fresh food and meet the farmers behind it all. Increasing your knowledge about organic and sustainable agricultural practices is just another added benefit. Mark your calendar and bring the whole family. Registration and details coming soon.

 

 

Don’t Miss Out on the 2015 Value-Added Producer Grant!

The USDA Value-Added Producer Grant Program expects to announce a call for applications this April!  This is a great opportunity to plan a value-added business or to help fund early stage working capital expenses.   Grants of up to $75,000 for business planning and up to $200,000 for working capital were made last year.

vapg1

“Value-added” is defined quite generously by the USDA.   Not only does it mean changing the physical state of your raw product, but it can mean the fact that you are marketing and branding your fresh product as local, or by your means of production, such as organically grown, or by physical segregation of your raw product, such as non-GMO corn.   Projects producing renewable energy from one’s  raw products might also be considered value-added.

This year is one of the best years to apply.   More projects will be funded this year than usual due an exceptionally large pool of funding – $41M nationally.  And a new consideration for military veterans is expected in the announcement.  Beginning farmers, minority farmers, or women-owned farming businesses might be eligible for extra points in the scoring of applications.

The application is long and detailed, requiring much thought and planning.

There is a 50% matching funds requirement.  So please, investigate this program now at www.rurdev.usda.gov/BCP_VAPG_Grants.html  to find out if it can help you achieve your business goals.  Start on your application even before the federal announcement, if it is not already out.  Use last year’s application toolkit. Once the program is announced this year, applications will be due in only 60 days.

The growing season is upon us.  But don’t miss at least considering this opportunity.

Use free Grants Advising made available through the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute.   Contact Deirdre Birmingham at deirdreb4@gmail..com  or 608-219-4279.  Deirdre is also an organic apple grower and has used this program herself. You are welcome to be on her email list of funding program announcements so that you know what’s out there!