Harvest Blog: Crop Insurance To Cover Midwest Cucumbers, Cherries

Feb 10, 2014

Michigan, Indiana and Illinois are major producers of cucumbers that wind up in pickle jars around the country
Credit en.wikipedia.org

Passage of the Agriculture Act of 2014 brought with it good news for fans of pickles and cherry pies.  

Cucumber growers in Illinois and Indiana, as well farmers with tart cherry orchards in Michigan, can this year apply for a USDA crop insurance pilot program.

But only those Illinois cucumber growers who machine-harvest in Gallatin, Lawrence and White Counties - in the southeastern corner of the state - are eligible in 2014.

The expansion of crop insurance is in response to extreme weather patterns in 2012 - from early frost to lingering drought - which crippled major crops in the Midwest, including apples, and popcorn.  

Did you miss our story on the 2012 drought's impact on the U.S. popcorn industry?  Check it out here.

The following is from USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Brandon C. Willis:  

(Find the full article here)

“A tremendous amount of work goes into offering a new insurance product, making sure that the product provides the coverage needed by growers at a reasonable premium without distorting the market or affecting a grower’s management decisions for the crop. New insurance products must have written policy, underwriting and loss procedures, as well as an actuarially-sound premium rate. The ability to innovate with new and expanded insurance offerings to reflect modern and changing farming practices is central to how the Federal Crop Insurance Program works.

Pilot insurance programs are offered on a limited scope to test the product and make sure it works and there is enough grower interest to convert it to a program. Beginning in 2014, crop insurance will be available as a pilot insurance program for cucumbers in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina and Texas.  Coverage will also be available as a pilot insurance program for tart cherries in Michigan, New York, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

Putting a pilot program in place takes input from growers, processors and crop experts to gather background information and research. For tart cherries, huge losses in Michigan in 2012 due to frost was a reminder of the need for a modern safety net for those producers. As result, RMA worked to develop a plan to meet the needs of tart cherry producers and the pilot was approved by the Federal Crop Insurance Board in 2013. Tart cherry producers now have an extra tool to guard against frost and other natural disasters...

Next spring, insurance will be expanded in 38 counties for crops such as processing tomatoes in Indiana and Michigan, and popcorn in Indiana."