May 6, 2016
The Federal Crop Insurance Program, managed by the Risk Management Agency (RMA), provides subsidized coverage through private insurance companies to over $100 billion worth of agricultural products across 298 million acres.
Despite a seemingly high level of farmer participation overall, many underserved, organic, diversified, and specialty crop farmers lack information about and access to insurance policies tailored to their needs.
On Thursday, May 5 RMA announced $8.7 million in cooperative agreements funds to help organizations provide risk management education and training. This is a great opportunity for organizations working with under-served farmers and ranchers to obtain support for providing information on Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) and other risk management tools.
Applications for both programs are due by 11:59 p.m. EST on July 3, 2016. All applications must be submitted electronically through the Results Verification System website. A tutorial on how to apply is available here. All awards will be finalized by September 09, 2016 and projects will be expected to start on September 30, 2016 and will last one year.
Risk Management Education Partnerships Program
$4.3 million of the total RMA funds will be directed toward cooperative agreements under the RME Partnership program, which seeks to ensure that farmers are provided with the knowledge, skills, and tools needed to make informed risk management decisions for their operations. The Partnership program will award up to $99,999 for each cooperative agreement, with no minimum award level.
In the past few years, RMA has awarded between 43-94 RME cooperative agreements each year, with an average funding of $83,204.
The Partnership program prioritizes applicants who help producers learn to use WFRP, marketing contracts, and other risk management tools. RMA requires that proposals address one or more of the five areas of risk (production, legal, financial, marketing, or human risk), and that offer:
RMA will also prioritize applications that direct 75 percent of their educational and training activities to producers of any one of the following three priority producer categories:
More information is available in the full request for applications on the USDA grants website here under CFDA number 10.460.
Crop Insurance in Targeted States Program
This year the Targeted States (TS) Partnership Program is making $4.4 Million available to fund approximately 50 cooperative agreements. For FY 2016 awards will be capped at $700,000, with no minimum award level.
In the past few years, RMA has awarded 16 TS cooperative agreements each year, with an average funding of $312,500.
The TS program increases the delivery of crop insurance education programs in states with low levels of federal crop insurance availability and participation. Seventeen states are targeted for funding under the TS program in 2016: AK, CT, DE, HI, ME, MD, MA, NV, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, UT, VT, WV, and WY.
More information is available in the full request for applications on the USDA grants website here under CFDA number 10.458.
Focus on Innovation and Experience
For both the RME and TS programs, USDA is encouraging projects that use innovative approaches to provide education. They are seeking applicants with a history of success in outreach to underserved farmers and ranchers including: beginning farmers, legal immigrants, minority producers, veterans, women, producers who market their products as part of a local or regional food system, organic/transitioning producers, and producers living in areas designated as Strike Force or Promise Zone communities.
Past award recipients have included universities, county cooperative extension offices, and nonprofit organizations. Several National Sustainable Agricultural Coalition members groups have also successfully been awarded in the past.