New Crop Insurance Coverage Begins with Fall-Seeded Crops

Jun 20, 2000

New Crop Insurance Coverage Begins with Fall-Seeded Crops
Signing "Agricultural Risk Protection Act" into law improves coverage, protects revenue

With legislation signed into law on Tuesday, farmers and ranchers will be able to access vastly improved federal insurance on crops planted as early as the coming fall season.  "The Agricultural Risk Protection Act" (H.R. 2559) provides producers the ability to protect themselves against the increasing economic risks to their crops and livestock created by harsh weather and volatile markets.

"Crop and cattle producers will find new coverage for revenue losses as well as insurance that more realistically reflects their productive capability and production costs," said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX).  "I strongly urge producers to take a new look at this coverage with particular attention to its rewards for efficiency, good management, and the ability for producers to better cover risks from weather as well as markets."

An improved coverage approach allows producers who have experienced multiple years of disaster to re-establish their actual production history to levels that will allow meaningful coverage when losses force down their yields.

New provisions also strengthen the integrity of the crop insurance program with directed coordination between USDA agencies to reconcile producer information for investigating claims of waste, fraud or abuse.  In addition to identifying vulnerabilities of the insurance program, the law also mandates greater civil penalties and disqualification of producers, agents, loss adjusters and others who defraud the crop insurance program.

"The Agricultural Risk Protection Act" also allows experts to develop new policies so that producers will have a wider choice of coverage available.  The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation would have the authority to enter into contracts for research and development for underserved states and commodities, including specialty crops.   Pilot programs may be expanded nationally, including coverage for livestock.

More details of the crop insurance program are found on the Internet at the House Agriculture Committee web site.  House and Senate approved the measure on May 25, including assistance to producers — largely for market losses — to be paid out beginning September 1.