Sunday, November 4, 2007

USDA crop insurance!

Our only crop insurance is a USDA program, called NAP (Non-insured Agricultural Production), in other words, insurance for crops that are not the common commodities, corn, soybean, wheat and rice. It is a CAT type program, (catastrophic loss), which means it will cover crop expenses, but not cover the total loss of income, NAP reports to pay 27.5% of loss. Which would be $220,000 of our $800,000 loss. BUT, I knew they did not pay, based on Organic Prices, so based on limited past experience, I was realistically planning on only about 12-15% or $100,000 from 45 acres of crop loss. But this week was a sobering reality when I got the first payment sheets on four crops. They averaged 2% of our actual loss!!! How can this be? They use our reported yields from the last 10 years which are good, near or above the average yield, but the problem lies in the extremely low price that they assigned to each crop.(When is the last time you saw cabbage sell for .08/#??) and then a new factor that even the FSA field person was not aware of comes in to play, the UH (unharvested factor) ranging from .32 to .5%. In other words, because we did not have to pay a crew to harvest the crop, they reduce the already low payment by half again, so the resulting total of $150 for one acre of cabbage does not even pay for the cost of raising the plants and nothing for transplanting, cultivating, weeding, etc.
This is a new blow to our recovery strategy! I will fight it! Former CSA coordinator Will Hughes who is a high level official in the Wisconsin Dept of Ag, is arranging a meeting with Ben Brancel who is the head of FSA (Farm Service Agency) for Wisc, will let you know how it goes!, but don't hold your breath! We may ask you to contact him! If you know him or Russ Raider who is the state wide coordinator for this program, please tell them in a nice way that they are failing in their job and should be removed from the taxpayers expense if they cannot administer this program in a way that at least covers a minimum of losses!! thanks, Richard

1 comment:

Dr. Manisha said...

Hello Richard and Terri!
I love that you all are writing a flog. It is a great way to keep updated on all that is happening on the farm. I appreciate this update about the crop insurance. I hope that you continue to inform us about what is going on. I am ready to write a letter, if need be.