New Insurance Cover Option For Some U.S. Hemp Farmers

Hemp insurance - USDA
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency has announced a new crop insurance option for hemp growers in some counties of 21 states starting next year.

A pilot program will offer Actual Production History (APH) coverage under 508(h) Multi-Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) for eligible producers. APH insures producers against yield losses due to natural causes. Eligible producers with at least one year of history of hemp production will be able to select the amount of average yield and the percent of the predicted price of fiber, grain or CBD oil to insure for the 2020 hemp season.

To be eligible for APH coverage, producers will also need to be participating in Section 7606 state or university research pilot or be licensed under a state, tribal or federal program approved under the USDA’s interim final rule issued in October 2019

The MPCI coverage is separate to Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP), which is already available to growers part of a Section 7606 state or university research pilot and will open up to other hemp farmers next year.

The USDA has also announced hemp will be insurable under the Nursery crop insurance program and the Nursery Value Select pilot crop insurance program starting with the 2021 crop year. This will enable hemp grown in containers to be insurable, assuming various federal, state and tribal regulations are met.

Further details are available here.

On a somewhat related note, we mentioned last week the USDA had extended the comment period for the U.S. Domestic Hemp Production Program from December 30, 2019 to January 29, 2020. At the time of the extension announcement, more than 1,200 comments had been submitted providing feedback on the interim final rule.  Just before publishing this article the number of comments had grown to 1,375.

The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to establish a national regulatory framework for hemp production. However, the interim final rule issued by USDA in October doesn’t affect hemp being cultivated under 2014 Farm Bill related programs, which still remains subject to the requirements of that Bill.