Officials with the Risk Management Agency (RMA), the governing body that runs the federal crop insurance program, announced the expansion of the crop insurance pilot program in California to several additional counties. The program has been in place for a few years in California but was limited to nine counties in the state while the RMA studied the program.
Those counties included Contra Costa, Fresno, Kern, Sacramento, and San Joaquin, Stanislaus, San Benito and Tulare counties. The RMA is adding the following counties to the pilot program: Butte, Kings, Madera, Merced, Placer, Sutter, and Yuba.
The program pays for losses to cherries as a result of unavoidable loss of production and damage to the crops resulting from adverse weather conditions such as hail, frost, wind, heat, and more. The coverage also extends to losses due to wildlife, birds, earthquake and fire, as well as failures of irrigated water supplies. This program, called an Actual Revenue History (ARH) program, will also pay for losses as a result of low market price. This is a new feature for crop insurance in California and helps support revenue to cherry growers even when there is no catastrophic weather event that affects the crop. The program will pay when a market event affects the price of cherries and guarantees an insured grower a minimum price for their cherries. The guarantee is for revenue and not production for each unit of coverage.
In order to qualify for coverage, the grower must have produced at least 2300 lbs. per acre of cherries in one of the previous three years. Federal crop insurance is subsidized by the government, but in order to secure the coverage, it must be purchased from an authorized crop insurance agent by January 31, 2013