April 28, 2015
Early Data Shows Whole-Farm has Increased Sales in its First Year
The last day to purchase a Whole Farm Revenue Insurance (WFRP) policy passed on March 15, and the first sales statistics for the new policy are beginning to become clear. To date, RMA has reported that 1046 WFRP policies were sold for the 2015 crop year; the final number could still change some, but this is close to final. This is an excellent start considering that the policy was not fully available for purchase until November of 2014.
For the 2016 crop year, farmers should be able to begin exploring and purchasing the policy on September 1, 2015.
The 1046 policies sold for 2015 represents a 20 percent increase over the 838 policies sold by its predecessor policies, Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) and AGR-Lite combined, in 2014. This is also more than the 1017 AGR and AGR-Lite policies sold in 2003, their best year for total policies sold.
WFRP policies were sold in 33 states. This includes six of the eight states where a whole-farm policy was available for the first time in 2015. The new states with WFRP sales are South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, and Ohio. No WFRP policies were sold this year in North Dakota and Kentucky. Of the new states, Indiana had the most WFRP policies sold with 25.
In 2015, WFRP was available in 45 states. It is NSAC’s hope that WFRP will available in the remaining five states — Texas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas — for the 2016 crop year.
Several states experienced major increases in the number of WFRP policies sold versus its predecessor policies. The number of policies sold grew by 14 times in Idaho, 16 times in Montana, and 8 times in North Carolina. In Washington, where over half of WFRP policies were sold, there was a modest increase in sales, with 44 more policies sold in 2015 for a total of 536.
In Michigan, where access was expanded in 2015 to the whole state from just a few select counties, the number of policies sold was up by a modest six policies. In California, which was also granted expanded access, the number of policies sold actually decreased.
This data is preliminary; a full data set including the number of policies requiring an indemnity payment will not be available until well into 2016. Farmers utilizing this policy must file their tax returns for the preceding crop year before it is known if they are eligible for an indemnity.
Basics of the New WFRP Policy
The new WFRP policy includes major improvements over AGR an AGR-Lite, including higher premium subsidies, premium discounts for increased diversity, and coverage for market readiness activities and expanding operations.
This policy, unlike traditional yield or revenue insurance, is not intended for a single specific crop, but for all the crops and livestock grown or raised on a single farm. This policy is aimed in part at helping diversified sustainable and organic farms that do not have single crop policies or price elections available for one or more of the crops grown.
Farmers interested in the WFRP policy should start by reviewing RMA’s fact sheet on the policy and then talk to their crop insurance agent about the records they will need to assemble. RMA has a cost estimator that can help farmers decide if WFRP is right for them.
Notable Changes and Benefits of WFRP:
Some of the most notable improvements this new crop insurance policy offers include:
The improvements made by this new policy include many that NSAC has advocated over the past several years.
NSAC is also working with several of its member groups to submit ideas to RMA for further improvements to the policy for 2016 and beyond and welcomes input from farmers using or considering using WFRP.
Learn more about NSAC’s work on WFRP
Learn more about the policy in NSAC’s Grassroots Guide to Federal Farm and Food Programs.