January 28, 2014
Albany, NY

Department of Agriculture and Markets Reminds Farmers of the March 15 Deadline to Purchase Crop Insurance

Department of Agriculture and Markets Reminds Farmers of the March 15 Deadline to Purchase Crop Insurance

Acting New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today urged farmers to review their crop insurance options, which can protect them from crop vulnerabilities such as unpredictable weather and pest outbreaks.

The March 15 crop insurance deadline applies to most spring-planted field crops, including corn, corn silage, dry beans, barley, oats, soybeans, fresh market sweet corn, forage seeding and production, grain sorghum, potatoes, spring forage seeding, processing green peas, fresh market and processing snap beans, and processing tomatoes, cabbage and sweet corn.

“While New York has a robust agricultural economy, as we’ve seen over the past few years the weather is unpredictable, which makes crop insurance an important asset for farmers,” said Acting Commissioner Ball.  “Crop insurance is a sound investment that provides farmers across the state with peace of mind and protection from losses.  I encourage farmers to contact their nearest crop insurance agent today.”

“If the weather prevents us from planting feed for the cows, then the insurance can help us have money to purchase feed to get us to the next season,” said Lynn Murray of Murcrest Farms in Copenhagen, NY.  “Even on our best ground, Mother Nature can win. I would never gamble on a loss, and I would never be without crop insurance.”

In 2012, 6,181 producers purchased crop insurance in New York and 1,131 policy holders received crop insurance payments totaling over $67 million. Figures for 2013, compiled by the USDA Risk Management Agency, are incomplete at this time.

For crops insured in some New York counties but not others, producers can ask their crop insurance agent to seek a written agreement, which provides similar coverage, if approved by USDA.  For crops for which there are not federal crop insurance programs, the Non-Insured Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), administered by county Farm Service Agency offices, can provide up to 27.5% of the value of a crop, in the event of a total loss.  Like crop insurance, producers must sign up for NAP in advance of March 15.

The USDA can also improve crop insurance options from year to year.  This year, “Trend Adjustment,” was added to the winter wheat policy, available in 27 counties, which may allow farmers to increase their coverage without paying a higher premium.  It was also added to the corn policy last year.  Just two years ago, coverage level options for corn and soybeans were increased to 80% and 85%, respectively.  Last year, fresh market contract green snap bean coverage was made available in 9 counties.   In 2011, soybean crop insurance became available in 38 counties when 17 counties were added for coverage.  Hay and pasture drought protection has also only been available statewide in recent years.

Producers interested in purchasing crop insurance or changing their coverage should contact a crop insurance agent as soon as possible.   Crop insurance is made available by county. A list of crop insurance agents who sell crop insurance in your county is available on the web at http://www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html or at your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. Or call the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets at 1-800-554-4501 and ask for crop insurance information.