By Jake Jacobs, UVM Crop Insurance Education Coordinator
Spring will be here soon, and this winter we’ve already had some glimpses of the weather to come. Now is a good time to update your farm business plan, including assessing how you will manage all the types of agricultural risk that can threaten your farm’s viability.
Do you know the five types of risk that challenge every agricultural enterprise?
- Production: What will our crop yields be this year? How will environmental conditions impact production?
- Marketing: Will we be able to sell our crops for a fair price? What will we do if there is an unexpected market shift?
- Financial: How can we manage our debt load? What do we do about inflation or other economic variables?
- Legal: What are we liable for? What do we do if someone – worker, customer, visitor – gets hurt on the farm? Are there environmental risks?
- Human Resource: Who will do the work if I am unable to do so? How can we find and retain good employees?
Do you have plans in place that will minimize each of these risks? For production and marketing risks, consider crop insurance. There are more options available, including some that are particularly suited to the types of diversified farming operations that are often seen in Vermont and the other New England states. The cost of insurance premiums are subsidized by the federal government, but you should also find out if your farm qualifies for some of the special provisions such as waived registration fees for beginning farmers, additional premium assistance such as the whole-farm premium subsidy for two or more qualifying commodities in the WFRP policy, or opportunity to use prices that more accurately reflect market values for organic production.
Your insurance agent can present all the insurance options and programs available for your farm. To find an agent licensed to sell crop insurance in Vermont, go to the RMA Agent locator.
This material is funded in partnership with USDA, Risk Management Agency, under award number RM17RMETS524005. Any reference to commercial products, trade names, or brand names is for information only, and no endorsement or approval is intended. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. University of Vermont Extension, Burlington, Vermont. University of Vermont Extension, and U.S. Department of Agriculture, cooperating, offer education and employment to everyone without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or familial status.