December 15, 2014
December 15, The Risk Management Agency (RMA) recently released 10 new organic price elections for the 2015 crop insurance year. This brings the total number of organic price elections to 26 for the 2015 crop year.
While this represents progress there is a long way to go since RMA offers over 100 individual crop policies.
We welcome this progress towards fulfilling Congress’s directive for RMA to complete price elections.
With NSAC’s support, the 2008 and 2014 Farm Bill’s contained language that directed USDA to complete the series of organic price elections. The 2014 Farm Bill directed USDA to complete the elections by the 2015 crop insurance year.
While we understand that the 2014 Farm Bill set an ambitious goal, it delivered the message that rapid acceleration is both needed and expected. These price elections are important for organic producers, who with limited exception are stuck insuring crops at prices far below the organic premium.
This chart outlines the progress that RMA has made including increasing the number of elections released during each of the last two year’s.
|Added in 2011:||Added in 2012:||Added in 2013:||Added in 2014:||Added in 2015|
- Processing Tomatoes, CA
|- Avocadoes, CA|
- Fresh Freestone Peaches, CA
- Fresh Nectarines, CA
- Fresh Plums, CA
|- Almonds, CA|
- Blueberries, CA, OR, WA
- Concord Grapes, OR, WA
- Apples, Fresh & Processing, WA
- Pears, WA, OR
- Fresh Apricots: CA, ID, OR & WA
- Fresh Nectarines: ID, OR & WA
- Fresh Plums: ID, OR & WA
- Fresh Freestone Peaches: ID, OR & WA
- Corn Silage
- Hybrid Corn Seed
- Grain Sorghum
- Silage Sorghum
- Hybrid Sorghum Seed
What are Organic Price Elections?
An organic price election allows a farmer to insure their organic crop at the organic price for that crop instead of the conventional crop price. Many organic producers are currently disadvantaged compared to conventional farmers because organic price elections have not been established for all insurable organic crops. This means that, should an organic producer suffer a loss, he or she would receive an indemnity at the conventional price, which is generally considerably lower than the organic price.
Further Information on RMA’s Organic Price Election Progress
RMA released a progress report in March 2014 outlining its efforts to collect the data it says it needs to be able to complete organic price elections for all insurable crops.
The report outlines RMA’s efforts to work with the National Agricultural Statistic Service (NASS) to utilize organic survey data from the 2007 and 2012 Census’s of Agriculture and more limited 2008 and 2015 organic survey data. The continued collection of this data presents the best opportunity for RMA to obtain the farm gate value data it needs to finish the organic price election series.
At NSAC’s urging NASS will conduct the most comprehensive organic production survey possible in early 2015, so that this data, for the 2014 crop year, is comparable to past surveys and more useful for organic price elections.
USDA is making progress on organic price elections for crop insurance. In 2011, only 4 crops had price elections (corn, soybeans, cotton, and processing tomatoes), today there are more than twenty. There are challenges to RMA obtaining the data they believe is needed to complete the organic price elections series. We are encouraged by RMA’s commitment to seek out new and creative ways to obtain the needed data, but are still concerned by the slow pace of progress.
NSAC will continue to advocate for a strong commitment to organic data collection, including but not limited to future NASS organic production surveys. However, RMA must also consider alternative data sources in order to complete all the organic price elections in a timely manner, as Congress has directed.