Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) is a new national crop insurance program for farmers. Since it is so new, lots of people are unclear about how it works.
Traditionally, CSA and market farmers didn’t buy crop insurance because the crops they grew weren’t covered, the paperwork was mountainous, or the coverage amounts were based on wholesale or commodity crop pricing. Crop insurance was also viewed as less crucial to those with diversified farms and direct-market sales because they are exposed to less single-crop risk and they can sell their products for higher prices.
In 2003 the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) implemented a pilot program for diversified farmers called the Adjusted Gross Revenue Program (AGR and AGR-Lite), but participation was low. In recent years, sustainable ag groups, like the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, saw this gap and collaborated with RMA to develop a better option. In late 2014, the USDA rolled out a new insurance option, Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP), to reach small and diversified growers. CSA, farmers market, and wholesale producers can be covered under this insurance plan. In fact, it was created with those groups in mind. And it isn’t just for crops— it applies to dairy and meat farmers, too!
Whole Farm Revenue Protection is subsidized to be affordable, and an individual farm’s diversification raises the level of subsidy available. Farmers base their insured revenue on their own previous sales records, so the farmer is able to set the worth of their crop. WFRP is administered by RMA and sold and serviced by private insurance agents. Also, if you’re considering FSA loans, WFRP will meet the FSA insurance requirement.
A team at Cornell has worked to create an online tool that helps farmers compare premiums, levels of coverage, and indemnity payments. In order to buy insurance, you’ll have to speak with a crop insurance agent.
Here at NYFC, we’re trying to help farmers better understand this opportunity and identify if it works for their farm. Are you having a hard time understanding how WFRP works? Are there barriers that keep you from using it? Are small, beginning farmers inherently opposed to crop insurance? Are the premiums or the payouts too confusing? We want to help you understand this option, and figure out if it is a good fit for your farm. Check out this introduction to WFRP and a new online tool developed by Cornell University’s Ag Analytics team to evaluate the program’s usefulness on your farm.
Cornell University Professor Jennifer Ifft invites farmers with questions or feedback about crop insurance to contact her for one-on-one information sessions between now and the March 15th sign-up deadline. Reach her via email at email@example.com or phone at (607) 255-4769. She should be available during the following times, or you can call to set up a specific time:
March 6: 2-4pm
March 7: 9am-11am
March 9: 2-4pm
March 11: 9am-11am
If WFRP is a good fit for your farm, there’s still time to sign up for 2017! The final day to sign up for WFRP for the 2017 crop year is March 15th. If it isn’t a good fit, please help us understand what needs to be changed to make it more helpful for beginning farmers. Please contact Cara or write a comment on this post if you have crop insurance feedback.
This article is a part of the activities of the New York Crop Insurance Education and Risk Management Project, which is managed by Cornell University in partnership with the USDA Risk Management Agency to deliver crop insurance education in New York State.