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Growers Should Purchase Some Level of Crop Insurance by April 15

Monday, April 2nd, 2018 by tamara

By Michael W. Sparks

The Hurricane Irma Florida citrus relief package is moving forward and we expect Secretary Perdue to unveil the program sometime in the next few weeks. FCM is in contact with our allies in Washington and Commissioner Adam Putnam’s staff on a daily basis.

Once the news breaks we will get it out as fast as we can to membership. In the meantime, Florida Citrus Mutual strongly recommends growers purchase some level of crop insurance by April 15, 2018 – the final date to apply for 2018-2019 coverage. Current policyholders who wish to make changes to their existing coverage also have until the April 15 sales closing date to do so. As the details of the citrus relief package emerge, FCM believes purchasing at least catastrophic (CAT) insurance for the 2018-2019 is a show of good faith to the USDA, as well as providing limited protection for citrus growers. It appears the language authorizing the relief dollars does not require crop insurance for the 2018- 2019 season, however as you know everything is open to interpretation.

Buying relatively cheap CAT insurance is well…insurance. Also understand that USDA and Congress are both very keen on crop insurance to offset losses from agricultural disasters, such as Hurricane Irma. We do know recipients of relief dollars will have to purchase crop insurance for the next two “available” years and growers who had crop insurance at the time Irma hit will be eligible for greater relief payments than those who did not. Growers should take a hard look at their risk management portfolios now because there is zero chance our industry will be fortunate enough to secure direct payments should a disaster hit in the future. That train has left the proverbial station. Consequently, Florida Citrus Mutual through its Crop Insurance Advisory Committee is working with consultants, our Congressional delegation and the USDA to make Florida citrus’ insurance products a better tool for growers going forward. It is clear deductibles are too high, premiums are many times unaffordable and indemnity payments are not consistent with current crop values. If we are to survive and ultimately thrive as an industry the situation must be rectified.

For more information on the 2018-2019 citrus fruit policy go to https://www.rma.usda.gov/fields/ga_rso/2019/2019flcitrus.pdf

To see the Risk Management Agency’s press release regarding the April 15 closing date go to https://www.rma.usda.gov/fields/ga_rso/2017/flscd041517.pdf

A list of crop insurance agents is available online at https://www.rma.usda.gov/tools/agent.html

Growers can get a premium amount estimate here https://ewebapp.rma.usda.gov/apps/costestimator/

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One Response to “Growers Should Purchase Some Level of Crop Insurance by April 15”

  1. Christine Waters Says:

    This “suggestion” that citrus growers must purchase crop insurance really does make me wonder what our future is. How can the average small grower afford yet another expense? And how can a government force a citizen to buy insurance? Does this remind anyone of Obamacare?
    Of course, we would like to have insurance. We would like to be able to pay for it,too. We carried it for years and got very little help from the insurers when we had disasters. It wasn’t cost effective to carry it. This is really one expense too many, one regulation (it soon will be a regulation) too many. Also, how is it that those growers who can afford to have crop insurance get more assistance than those who can’t afford it and have suffered just as great a percentage of loss?
    And we’re told that if we don’t have insurance, we may not get any government assistance at all in the future? Does this remind anyone of Obamacare?

    We’re from the government and we’re here to help you!

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