USDA Expands Insurance Options for Farmers Transitioning to Certified Organic Agriculture

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In an effort to support farmers transitioning to certified organic production, USDA is expanding a crop insurance option that will allow producers to purchase insurance coverage that better reflects their product’s actual value. Certified organic products often return higher profits for farmers; however, it can take producers three years to transition from conventional to certified organic production.

Previously, producers of transitional crops were only able to insure them at the same price as a conventional producer. This expansion of insurance options enables producers to insure transitional crops to their contract price (within approved limits).

USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has also expanded organic premium price elections to 57 crops, up from four in 2011, providing organic producers the option to protect their 2016 crops closer to the market value. A list of commodities eligible for the Contract Price addendum is available online.

Last year, USDA reported that U.S. certified and exempt organic farms sold a total of $5.5 billion in organic products in 2014, up 72 percent since 2008. The U.S. retail market for organic products is valued at more than $39 billion, and in 2014 there were 19,474 certified organic operations in the U.S., representing nearly a 250 percent increase since 2002. Worldwide, in 2014 there were nearly 28,000 certified organic operations in more than 120 different countries.

Crop insurance is sold and delivered solely through private crop insurance agents. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers or online.

The sales closing date is the last day to buy a new policy or change an existing policy's coverage level. Producers can find sales closing dates for the crops in their states by referring to RMA's regional office state directory. Current policyholders also have until the sales closing date to make any changes to their existing contracts.

More information on risk management tools available for organic farmers can be found on the RMA organic crops website