USDA Extends Comment Period Changes to Apple Crop Insurance
The USDA's Risk Management Agency has extended the comment period for proposed changes to the Apple Crop Insurance Policy. It was not until I saw the news release from the USDA that I realized you could purchase crop insurance for apples. Of course I do not grow apples, but I was pleased for the apple orchard owners that they had the same opportunity to manage risk as growers of the major crops like corn and soybeans!
Apple growers may be even more vulnerable to the weather than farmers that raise corn and soybeans. Warm weather in the very early spring may bring the apple blossoms out. Then a cold snap with temperatures approaching 28 degrees would kill the blossoms. No blossoms would mean no apples for the year! The cold would not likely damage the actual apple trees but it would be a long growing season knowing there would be few apples to harvest in September!
Here are the proposed changes from the USDA news release:
- Enable producers to elect different coverage levels and percent of price elections by type, which allows producers to manage individual coverage and price risk more effectively.
- Allow producers’ premiums to be reduced in response to orchard management practices, such as removing or grafting trees, that typically occur after the acreage reporting date and decrease an orchard’s productivity.
- Allow producers to insure at a higher price for apples sold predominantly to direct markets or premium processing markets.
- Exclude apples sold for the slicer market from being considered “fresh apple production.”
- Introduce a fresh fruit factor to account for the reduced market value of production insured under the Quality Option sold for a grade other than U.S. Fancy.
Apple growers can go to the Federal Register to make comments on the proposed changes.