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2016 crop insurance available to additional producers

Mossy Oak Properties

Fruit and nut producers on agricultural land can now apply for crop insurance for 2016. The U.S. Department of Agriculture opted to expand its insurance options to include additional producers so landowners and harvesters in certain counties could take advantage of protection benefits.

Though traditional crop insurance policies were already available to fruit and nut producers, the USDA extended the Supplemental Coverage Option and the Actual Production History Yield Exclusion as well. With these financial protections in place, qualifying owners within applicable regions will have renewed incentive to produce fresh fruits and nuts.

According to the USDA's Risk Management Agency, SCO is an additional insurance policy that goes beyond the policyholder's deductible. To promote this offering, the federal government pays for 65 percent of the upfront premium cost of the policy. Supplemental coverage aids producers who may need a policy with a higher dollar amount attached in case of an extreme situation or a drop in demand.

Helping more producers
By working directly with insurance companies and landowners, the government has created a support system for producers of the nation's most vital food resources. The USDA provides specific crop insurance agents who deal solely with producers and other ag landowners to ensure coverage is available to those who need it.

In 2015, the following crops are covered by SCO, according to the USDA:

  • Soybeans
  • Rice
  • Spring barley
  • Spring wheat
  • Corn
  • Cotton
  • Cottonseed
  • Grain sorghum

Next year, upon the extension of the SCO program, producers who farm the following are included as well:

  • Almonds
  • Grapes
  • Blueberries
  • Prunes
  • Potatoes
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Tomatoes
  • Walnuts

Additional nuts and fruits are covered under the APH exclusion as well.

Promoting production
By coordinating and providing insurance coverage to producers, the government can ensure business owners aren't wiped out by weather-related disasters or external factors affecting crops. Administered by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, the agency aims to create stable economic conditions for the nation's agricultural industry. Insurance plays a critical role in shaping this balance since a lack of coverage could put producers out of business and lead to crop shortages in particular regions.

Combined with similar insurance programs, the USDA has sought to introduce new benefits to farmers through authority granted in the 2014 Farm Bill.

"USDA remains committed to making new crop insurance options outlined in the 2014 Farm Bill available to as many types of producers as possible," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Providing these options to our producers of fresh fruit and nuts gives them the stronger safety net they need to continue farming, even after particularly bad years. USDA will continue to work toward implementing risk management provisions from the Farm Bill as quickly as possible so that producers can plan for the future and protect their businesses."

Producers who are unsure if they meet USDA qualifications can speak with a Mossy Oak Properties representative. Brokers at Mossy Oak Properties can assist with questions and concerns regarding all types of property.