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Author: Jason Beverly
Federal authorities from the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently announced that some industrial hemp farmers will have the opportunity to get insurance under the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) program in 2020.
This pilot program is specifically for hemp farmers growing hemp for the purpose of fiber, grain, seeds, flower and CBD oil.
The pilot program will provide Actual Production History coverage under 508(h) Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI).
“We are pleased to offer these coverages to hemp producers. Hemp offers new economic opportunities for our farmers, and they are anxious for a way to protect their product in the event of a natural disaster,” said Farm Production and Conservation Undersecretary Bill Northey.
What farmers are eligible for Hemp Crop Insurance in 2020?
According to the RMA, in order for farmers to be eligible, they must be located in areas which are USDA approved for hemp plans or are part of Section 7606 state or university research pilot programs approved by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) pilot program is now available in 2020 to farmers in specific counties located in the following states:
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
What are the other eligibility requirements for the WFRP?
There are several requirements a hemp farmer must meet in order to be considered eligible, but here are a couple highlights.
- The WFRP states that any hemp which contains more than 0.3% THC, will not be insured under this new policy. The “less than 0.3% THC” requirement is consistent with the law described in the 2018 Farm Bill.
- Have no more than $8.5 million in insured revenue.
There are additional requirements in order to be considered eligible for the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection program which can be found here.
How did the 2018 Farm Bill help this effort?
The 2018 Farm Bill paved the way for this new policy. The Farm Bill removed hemp (cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC of dry weight) from the controlled substances list. Hemp is now treated similarly ordinary agricultural commodities but still has serious restrictions.
The 2018 Farm Bill also opens up an entirely new market for farmers. It allows farmers to gain access to much needed financing. Hemp can be used in a wide variety of applications such as textiles, livestock feed and paper to name a few.
More information about Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI)
According to the Insurance Information Institute, over 90 percent of farmers who buy crop insurance choose for MPCI. This is due to the vast number of crops covered, along with the fact that MPCI coverage includes crop losses caused by natural disasters. These natural disasters or events include:
- Destructive weather
- Insect damage
MPCI requires farmers to purchase insurance each year and it must be purchased before the crops are planted.
The WFRP is only the beginning
The WFRP is the first move by the USDA to start offering hemp crop insurance. The RMA noted that they will continue seeking additional insurance options in the future. This is the RMA’s first opportunity to gather data and assess crop loss and hemp pricing.
We’re excited to see what the future brings for hemp insurance and hemp farmers. We’d love to hear your feedback about Whole-Farm Revenue Protection.