In case of crop loss | Living the Country Life

In case of crop loss

If you grow specialty crops for profit, you're at the mercy of the weather. Protect your investment with insurance or specialized coverage before a disaster happens.

Radio interview source: Chad Hart, Extension Economist, Iowa State University

Weather is always a huge gamble. Spring can come early, then bite back with a late frost. In the summer we face floods, hail, and even drought. People with vineyards and orchards sometimes lose their crops. 
Chad Hart is an extension economist at Iowa State University. He says federal crop insurance is available to cover specialty crops such as fruits and vegetables. However, you have to weigh the cost of loss versus the cost of the insurance. He says one option for smaller farmers is the noninsured crop assistance program.
"It's basically a type of catastrophic crop insurance," he says. "Meaning that you're not going to get reimbursed to the full level of your business activity, but you'll get back some money for a flat fee. Typically it's on the order of about $300 per crop, per county. You may have several different crops that you're looking at here, there's an overall cap, I think, of $1,800."
The federal government offers an insurance policy for producers with multiple smaller crops. Hart says it's an adjusted gross revenue-type of insurance based on profits from your farm as a whole.
"They say, ok, what you need to provide us is your schedule-F for your federal tax bill," says Hart. "Your schedule-F basically lays out your farm income and expenses. It will insure a certain amount of revenue off your farm, and that revenue represents what you're getting from the carrots, the onions, and so on. And so, if you have a revenue shortfall, this type of coverage will help fill in part of that shortfall."
Hart recommends sitting down with a crop insurance agent to find the best option, because policies vary from county-to-county.  

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