For many years, there has been no successful solution for diversified, organic farms in terms of crop insurance. If you want to insure a few high value crops, you can use catastrophic plans, but this is far from providing comprehensive risk management. In March 2015, Whole Farm Revenue Insurance came out of the new Farm Bill. Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) was created as a solution for diversified farms and is not crop based (besides not being available for the traditional Crop Insurance crops like potatoes, blueberries, corn, etc.), but is based on the yearly revenue for your farm.
WFRP protects your farm against the loss of farm revenue that you expect to earn or will get from: commodities you produce during the insurance period, whether they are sold or not; commodities you buy for resale during the insurance period; and all commodities on the farm except timber, forest and forest products, and animals for sport, show, or pets.
Unfortunately, there are producer barriers to accessing Whole Farm Revenue Protection. First, it currently requires a high amount of record-keeping. Although certified organic farmers are well positioned to deal with most record-keeping requirements, WFRP requires sales records per crop. It is also based on your last 5 years of Schedule F Tax forms; which makes it inaccessible to beginning farmers and leaves us all hoping that your Schedule F represents your actual Whole Farm Revenue.
There is good news. The USDA has recognized that these are significant barriers to utilization of the WFRP. By the end of this September, 2015, changes to the requirements for WFRP will be announced that will take effect in March 2016. There are hopes that the record-keeping requirements will be changed for the program. To keep abreast of these changes, keep an eye on the Maine Cooperative Extension's website about the new Farm Bill insurance programs; they have a blog and also you can contact Erin Roche (207.949.2490, email email@example.com) or Tori Jackson (207.353.5550, email firstname.lastname@example.org) at any time with questions.
To watch a webinar about the WFRP, go here.
To read the 1 page fact sheet, go here.