Last Chance to NAP!

But there is no time to nap!  It’s time to inquire about NAP, the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program.  USDA Farm Service Agency offers this insurance program to producers of specialty crops.  Diffwake-up-748163erent coverage levels are available that cover certain portions of crop loss or prevented planting due to natural disasters.

And did I mention that if you are a beginning farmer this insurance might be FREE!

Changes to the 2014 Farm Bill make this program’s baseline coverage free for beginning farmers.  The “service fee” is also waived if the producer is classified as “limited resource” or “socially disadvantaged” by FSA.    All you need to do is contact your local FSA office to confirm whether or not you fall into one of these categories and obtain application details.

Time is running out to sign up for this program for 2015.   I had a recent conversation with Eric Winchester of the White River Junction FSA office.  There was a mid March deadline, but this might be extended.  According to Eric, ” because FSA is attempting to increase participation levels in this program for certain underserved groups, there may be opportunities for some farmers in Vermont to still enroll applicable crops in this program.  The underserved groups are, specifically, Socially Disadvantaged, Limited Resource and Beginning Farmers.  Socially Disadvantaged includes women, American Indian or Alaskan Native, Asian or Asian American, Blacks or African American, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and Hispanic farmers and ranchers.  Beginning Farmers are those who actively operate/manage a farm or ranch, but have not operated their farm or ranch for more than 10 years.  Limited Resource participants are defined by both their level of gross farm sales and their personal income. ”

So despite late nights boiling sap or getting tired from crop planning, now is not the time to nap.  But it might be the exact right time to sign up for NAP.  For more information contact your local FSA office.  Don’t wait to inquire about this potentially low-cost strategy to buffer against production risk.

Here is a map of Vermont county FSA offices with links to contact information:

Here is a basic fact sheet about the NAP program:

And for those of you who really enjoy drilling down into detail, here is the Interim Rule that discusses changes to NAP resulting from the 2014 farm bill.

About Ben Waterman

Ben writes about land access, tenure, and stewardship issues that are relevant to new farmers in Vermont. He coordinates the Land Access Program at UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture:
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