Small or underserved producers eligible for crop insurance will soon be able to receive educational assistance regarding the program through new USDA cooperative agreements with The Targeted States Program and The Risk Management Education Partnership Program.
The agreements, totaling nearly $10 million, will help thousands of farmers, ranchers and producers become acquainted with crop insurance. The program comes at a "successful, yet challenging period" for American agriculture, USDA said.
"Despite the challenges and setbacks due to extreme weather felt in many parts of the country this year, American agriculture is experiencing its strongest period in history thanks to the dedication and resilience of our farmers and ranchers," USDA Secretary Vilsack noted in a press statement.
"Our responsibility at USDA is to sustain and nurture these hard-won gains for all producers. For small and beginning farmers, in particular, risk management often means understanding direct marketing, or food safety standards, or designing tools to meet the scale of their operation and the markets that they serve. Overall, these agreements will provide tools and knowledge for underserved, small, and limited-resource producers to succeed."
Many of the agreements that RMA is offering can help farmers diversify production and marketing practices, or provide planning tools to help farmers get the insurance and credit that allow them to stay in business or to diversify their existing business.
RMA administers these projects as well as the federal crop insurance program, with funding and authority from the Federal Crop Insurance Act.
Specific projects include crop insurance education in targeted states and education partnership agreements:
Crop Insurance Education in Targeted States. $5 million has been awarded to deliver crop insurance education and information to agricultural producers in 16 states designated as historically underserved in crop insurance coverage. These targeted states are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
Education Partnership Agreements. $5 million has been awarded to fund 60 Education Partnership Agreements across the country, delivering training to U.S. farmers and ranchers in managing production, marketing, and financial risk, such as a $98,754 award for Risk Management Education and Counseling for Military Veteran New and Beginning Farmers. This project will provide comprehensive training on risk management for beginning farmers who are also military veterans in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
USDA notes that together, the agreements are designed to ensure that farmers and ranchers effectively manage their risk through difficult periods, helping to maintain America's food supply and the sustainability of small, limited resource, socially disadvantaged and other traditionally underserved farmers.