Please note that the Grassroots Guide has not yet been updated to reflect changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill, which was passed and signed into law in December 2018. We are in the process of updating the Guide and expect to publish an updated version in the spring of 2019. In the meantime, please use this guide for basic information about programs and important resources and links for more information, but check with USDA for any relevant program changes made by the 2018 Farm Bill. Also, check out our blog series covering highlights from the new farm bill.
All farmers deserve access to an adequate farm safety net to protect against the inherent risks of farming, no matter if they are growing thousands of acres of corn, a few dozen vegetable crops for their local CSA or mixed grains and livestock on a diversified farm. Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) is a crop-neutral revenue insurance policy designed to protect revenue on a farmer’s whole farm, not just one crop. Under this new policy, diversified farms that might not have access to crop or revenue insurance for each crop they grow can insure all the crops they grow and livestock they raise with one whole farm insurance policy.
Learn More About the New Whole Farm Crop Insurance!
Insurance for farmers typically comes in two forms – yield insurance and revenue insurance.
Yield based insurance policies provide indemnity payments when crop yields drop below an insured amount, as long as the reason for the low yield is an insured cause of loss (e.g. drought, excess rain, etc.). Revenue insurance is similar, but insures against drops in price as well as yield since prices can drop when yields are high.
Traditional crop insurance policies insure individual crops and some organic crops, but those policies are not available for every organic and conventional crop in every county.
USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) develops crop insurance policies, sets premium rates, and subsidizes the costs for farmers and approved insurance providers. The federal policies are then administered through private crop insurance agents who sell the policies to individual farmers.
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized RMA to create a new crop-neutral revenue insurance product for diversified farming operations. Unlike traditional yield or revenue insurance, this product is not intended for a single specific crop, but for all the crops and livestock grown or raised on a given farm.
The WFRP policy was first made available for the 2015 insurance year. For diversified specialty crop growers, mixed grain and livestock producers, and other diversified and organic producers, whole farm crop insurance provides an insurance option that recognizes and rewards the inherent risk management benefits of on-farm diversification.
Some of the benefits WFRP include:
RMA has also published a presentation on all of the improvement made to WFRP for the 2016 crop year.
Whole-Farm crop insurance is available in every state and every county in the country, but it has different closing dates based on which part of the country the farm is in. Check with your local agent about your closing date; they vary from the end of January through March.
Since whole farm crop insurance is available in more states, has higher subsidy rates, and higher coverage levels than its predecessor products known as Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) and AGR-Lite, it is expected to be more farmer-friendly.
Examples of the types of farms that could especially benefit from this policy include:
In 2015, WFRP experienced a 34 percent increase in the number of policies sold over what its predecessor policies sold in 2014. While the distribution of increased participation was uneven and some farmers choose not to purchase a policy because of the record keeping requirements of the policy; the increased participation is encouraging.
Read more about WFRP on NSAC’s blog:
Farmers interested in WFRP policy should speak to a local crop insurance agent about purchasing the new policy, contact a Regional or County RMA office with any questions, or review RMA’s online materials.
Webinar explaining WFRP policy:
Your local crop insurance agents can be found here:
Farmers can find more information on RMA’s Whole Farm Revenue Protection policy website.
NSAC has long championed the need for risk management products that are appropriate for highly diversified farms. Crop and revenue insurance policies exist for agricultural monocultures, but not diversified operations, which keeps diversified growers uninsured and at a competitive disadvantage. Whole farm crop insurance was originally introduced as part of the Local Food, Farms, and Jobs Act, parts of which were include in the 2014 Farm Bill.
The 2014 Farm Bill authorized the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop a new whole farm revenue protection policy and the corresponding policy was approved by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation’s Board of Directors in May 2014. The Full policy was released on November 6, 2014. On August 27, 2015 RMA released a series of modifications to the program for the 2016 crop year.
One of the goals of the new policy is to improve upon existing whole farm revenue protection polices, Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) and AGR-Lite policies, which have been around since 1999. These products were of limited use to producers and in most years, less than 1,000 policies were issued nationwide. They have not been widely utilized primarily because coverage levels are too low (from 65 to 80 percent of historical revenue), paperwork and loss requirements are high, subsidy rates are relatively low, and liability limits are low.
Section 11022(7) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 amends Section 522(c) of the Federal Crop Insurance Act (7 U.S.C. 1522(c) to be codified at 7 U.S.C. Section 1522(c).
Last updated in September 2016.