USDA is expanding a crop insurance option to support farmers transitioning to certified organic production, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced Feb. 18.
Producers transitioning to certified organic production can now use the Contract Price Addendum to cover their transitional crops at a higher price than traditional crops. The Contract Price Addendum allows farmers transitioning to organic production to insure certain crops at their contract price rather than the published U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency price election.
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. Barley, rice and wheat are among the crops for which organic price elections have been added. New additions for 2017 will include grapefruit, lemons and oranges.
"Consumer demand for organic products continues to increase and the industry has experienced remarkable growth, representing more than $39 billion in U.S. retail sales," Vilsack said. "Expanding the safety net for farmers wanting to enter the organic market ensures they have the tools and resources they need to meet this growing demand while protecting their operation."
For example, under the Contract Price Addendum, a producer in Nebraska can use a contract price for millet up to a maximum of $7.34 per bushel (for transitional) or $8.44 (for certified organic production), as opposed to using the existing RMA price elections of $3.67 (for transitional) or $4.22 (for certified organic production).
-A Contract Price Addendum fact sheet is available online at http://go.usa.gov/cyFGR.
-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 at www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html.
-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.
-A list of commodities eligible for the Contract Price addendum is available online at www.rma.usda.gov/news/currentissues/organics/cpa_eligibility.html.
-More information on risk management tools available for organic farmers can be found on the RMA organic crops website. Visit www.usda.gov/organic to learn more about USDA's resources for organic agriculture.
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 USDA organic operations in the United States, 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.