Beekeeping operations are very diverse. They have different plant species, climates, and precipitation requirements across the nation. It’s been a hot, dry summer in my area. The lack of rainfall has been hard on plant growth, which in turn makes it tough for bees to produce honey, wax, and breeding stock. Insurance for beekeepers has previously only been available to select states, but this year, the USDA has expanded coverage to the entire 48 contiguous states.
Robert Ibarra is the acting associate administrator for the USDA’s Risk Management Agency. He says the insurance coverage is based on a grid system.
"Each grid is roughly about a 17x17 square mile grid. The colonies are assigned to one or more grids based on where they’re located to be insured," says Ibarra. "It actually ends up covering the amount of rainfall, the precipitation that the producers get in each individual grid."
The insurance payments are determined for each grid by using climate data from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.
"When the final grid index falls below a trigger grid index, then the producer may receive some type of an indemnity," says Ibarra. "It just covers a single peril, which is the lack of precipitation. It’s based on the experience of the entire grid, and it’s not really based on the individual farm, or specific weather stations in the general area."
Producers select two-month intervals where precipitation is most important to their operation. Beekeepers have until November 17th to enroll in coverage for the 2018 crop year, which is done through private crop insurance agents.
Learn more about apiculture insurance
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