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Securing the Future of Agriculture With Risk Management Tools

Tuesday, August 27, 2019
filed under: Marketing/Risk Management

Martin Barbre
     Martin Barbre, administrator of the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA), was the keynote luncheon speaker at the 2019 National Sunflower Association Summer Seminar in late June.  An Illinois farmer and former president of the National Corn Growers Association, Barbre provided an overview of RMA’s mission, noting that more than 90% of U.S. farmers who grow principal crops are enrolled in federal crop insurance. Coverage runs the gamut from adverse weather to catastrophic weather events, from failure of irrigation water supply to fire, from insects and disease to damage from wildlife — and, of course, price fluctuation.  As of 2018, $109 billion of liability was insured by RMA.       
       In terms of RMA insurance programs for sunflower producers, the current options encompass Yield Protection (YP), Revenue Protection (RP), Revenue Protection with Harvest Price Exclusion (RPHPE) and Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP).  Master Yields (MY) for sunflower are proposed to be added to the 2020 Crop Insurance Handbook, Barbre said.
       Barbre also discussed federal crop insurance changes coming out of the 2018 farm bill, including the Multi-County Enterprise Unit under which growers can include acreage in an adjoining county as a “single enterprise unit.”  Other changes that he addressed were (1) yield cups that provide producers with an election to limit the decrease in actual production history (APH) to not more than 10% of the prior crop year’s APH; (2) new rules impacting crop insurance benefits when native sod is tilled in the states of Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota; and (3) Veteran Farmer and Rancher benefits for federal crop insurance for those who have recently started a farming operation.
       In closing, Barbre offered three lines of succinct advice to his sunflower audience when it comes to questions or concerns regarding crop insurance plans and coverage:
  1. “Talk to your agent.”
  2. “Talk to your agent.”
  3. “Talk to your agent.” 
— Don Lilleboe
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