USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack Tuesday addressed the Organic Trade Association's Policy Conference, offering his "new vision" for organic agriculture: improved crop insurance coverage options and new premium price elections.
Specifically, Vilsack said the USDA Risk Management Agency's federal crop insurance program will increase coverage options in 2014, including a contract price addendum.
Additionally, RMA will remove the current five-percent organic rate surcharge on all future crop insurance policies beginning in 2014. Vilsack also said USDA will be providing new guidance and direction on organic production to all USDA agencies in support of organic agriculture and markets
USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new organic crop insurance elections Tuesday. (file photo)
U.S. organic products are now a $30 billion industry,
Vilsack said, noting that the biggest obstacle for developing better crop insurance options for organic producers is the lack of information.
"Organic agriculture is one of the fastest growing segments of American agriculture and helps farmers receive a higher price for their product as they strive to meet growing consumer demand," Vilsack said.
"These new options will extend the safety net provided by crop insurance and provide fair and flexible solutions to organic producers. Coupled with the new guidance for agencies to support this growing sector, USDA recognizes that organics are gaining market share and is helping boost this emerging segment."
New crop insurance pricing options will be available to organic producers who grow crops under guaranteed contracts beginning with the 2014 crop year. This contract price option allows organic producers who receive a contract price for their crop to get a crop insurance guarantee that is more reflective of the actual value of their crop.