What do you do if a hailstorm rips through your farm and destroys your crops? You may think you’re covered, since you have a farm liability insurance policy. But, unfortunately, that is a misconception. Typical farm liability insurance covers farm structures, farm equipment and even farm products in the freezer, but not crops in the field or livestock on the hoof, so to speak. Your property policy will likely pay to rebuild your barn, buy a new tractor, and cover the losses from being unable to sell all the beef in your deep freezer. It likely won’t cover the losses from being unable to sell the kale that was standing in the field before Mother Nature unleashed her unpredictable fury.
Ack! Not a fun surprise.
That’s why farmers get crop insurance. However, traditional crop insurance generally doesn’t work for diversified farm operations. It just wasn’t designed with direct to consumer farms growing multiple different crops in mind. So, what’s a diversified farmer to do? How can you protect yourself from financial ruin when your farm fields fall prey to natural disaster?
Whole Farm Revenue Protection could be your answer. Whole Farm Revenue Protection – or WFRP for short – was developed for diversified and direct to consumer farms. WFRP allows farmers to insure multiple crops at a time, and at the premium prices that direct to consumer and organic crops command. This is good stuff.
But, the program is not without its flaws. Since its inception in 2015 it has been criticized for being difficult to apply for and to administer, with burdensome recordkeeping requirements.
Luckily, some key changes were made for the 2020 season that lessened the burden and improved the program, and additional changes have just been revealed for the 2021 season. Going forward, farmers selling direct to consumer won’t have to keep track of sales for each type of crop but can instead keep track of sales for the total acreage of crops sold direct such as through farm stands or at farmers markets.
This is great news! The bottom line? In this era of climate chaos, check your farm liability insurance policy and if your crops aren’t covered, consider WFRP coverage as a helpful risk management tool for your diversified farm. For more information about WFRP and its updates see the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s story here. For more comprehensive information about all disaster assistance programs see Farmers Legal Action Group’s guide.