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USDA now ready to provide protection for specialty crops

By Staff | Jan 5, 2015

WASHINGTON (USDA) Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Dec. 12 that greater protection is now available from the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program for crops that traditionally have been ineligible for federal crop insurance.

The new options, created by the 2014 farm bill, provide greater coverage for losses when natural disasters affect specialty crops such as vegetables, fruits, mushrooms, floriculture, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup and energy crops.

“These new protections will help ensure that farm families growing crops for food, fiber or livestock consumption will be better able to withstand losses due to natural disasters,” said Vilsack. “For years, commodity crop farmers have had the ability to purchase insurance to keep their crops protected, and it only makes sense that fruit and vegetable, and other specialty crop growers, should be able to purchase similar levels of protection.

“Ensuring these farmers can adequately protect themselves from factors beyond their control is also critical for consumers who enjoy these products and for communities whose economies depend on them.”

Previously, the program offered coverage at 55 percent of the average market price for crop losses that exceed 50 percent of expected production.

Producers can now choose higher levels (buy-up option) of coverage, up to 65 percent of their expected production at 100 percent of the average market price.

Several crops whose application for coverage closing date has already passed.

Those include, but are not limited to, aquaculture, Christmas trees, turf sod, orchards, vineyards, fruit-bearing bushes, strawberries, honey and maple sap.

FSA is offering a retroactive application for coverage to producers of these crops for the buy-up option only.

The application for closing date for these crops is Jan. 14.

Contact a county USDA Farm Service Agency for details.

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