University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences economist Ariel Singerman provided growers attending a recent OJ Break in Lake Alfred with basic information about federal crop and tree insurance. Early in his presentation, he noted that most citrus crops and trees in Florida are covered by crop and tree insurance at some level. He summarizes his presentation.
“The vast majority, 82 percent of the acreage, has some form of coverage for the crop,” he says, adding that 89 percent of the trees have coverage.
Grapefruit had the highest coverage levels in 2017, with 91 percent of the grapefruit acreage having crop coverage and 95 percent of the trees having tree coverage. Oranges were slightly behind with 82 percent of the orange crop and 89 percent of the orange trees being covered. Singerman speculates that growers cover grapefruit at a higher level because much grapefruit is sold fresh and therefore produces higher revenue.
The relatively new Whole-Farm Revenue Protection, available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, has a sales closing date of Feb. 28. For this product, coverage is for loss in farm revenue, not for loss of the underlying commodity. Singerman says Whole-Farm Revenue Protection offers some advantages for citrus growers who also produce other commodities. For starters, he says, the insurance is more heavily subsidized by the federal government. “And also,” he adds, “it is the farm’s history that is used for establishing what is the level of coverage that you get.”
For all crop insurance, the federal government establishes premium rates. “And so the insurance companies have to just compete on the level of service and the knowledge and the associated products,” Singerman says.
The OJ Break that Singerman addressed was hosted by multi-county citrus Extension agent Chris Oswalt.
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