Maryland Secretary of Agriculture Joe Bartenfelder issued a reminder for local farmers that the sales closing date to purchase crop insurance for spring seeded crops and to make changes to policies is March 15. Spring seeded crops include corn, soybeans, oats and grain sorghum.
“I encourage my fellow farmers to meet with a crop insurance agent before March 15 to ensure that they have the coverage they need to prepare for those things Mother Nature and the markets may have in store for us in 2016,” Bartenfelder said.
New in 2016 are changes from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency to make crop insurance better for farmers transitioning to certified organic production. The Contract Price Addendum allows farmers transitioning to organic production to insure certain crops at their contract price rather than the published USDA Risk Management Agency price election.
A list of crop insurance agents can be found on the USDA Risk Management Agency website, at http://prodwebnlb.rma.usda.gov/apps/AgentLocator/#/.
Risk Management Agency has also expanded organic price premium elections to 57 crops, up from four in 2011, providing organic producers the option to protect their 2016 crops closer to the market value.
For Maryland grain farmers, the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources has partnered with the University of Illinois to provide a web-based tool, at www.farmdoc.illinois.edu/cropins/index.asp, to help make informed crop insurance decisions.
Bartenfelder said the federal crop insurance program continues to be a reliable safety net to Maryland producers and has provided $155 million in indemnities over the last seven years and more than $238 million over the last 13 years.