TEMP Act Aims to Provide Freeze Insurance for Growers

Josh McGill freeze, Legislative

A U.S. senator and Congress members from Florida have introduced legislation to direct the Risk Management Agency to research and develop a crop insurance policy to cover losses caused by cold exposure and freezes.

Severe freeze damage on a citrus tree

Sen. Marco Rubio introduced the Temperature Endorsement for Multi-Peril Policies (TEMP Act). Representatives Scott Franklin, Darren Soto, Cory Mills and Greg Steube introduced companion legislation in the House.

A press release from Rubio stated that Florida’s specialty crop producers struggle to access comprehensive whole-farm crop insurance due to high insurance premiums that can cost thousands of dollars per acre. Specialty crop growers have been able to access insurance policies at reasonable costs that cover losses caused by specific covered impacts such as wind. However, no policy exists to cover specialty crop growers’ losses caused by cold exposure and freezes, the release reported.

“Florida’s growers are vital to our state’s economy and the security of our national food supply,” Rubio said. “The TEMP Act is a commonsense solution that will help our specialty crop growers access affordable crop insurance and recover from the devastating impacts of deep freezes and cold exposure.”

“Deep freezes often cause significant damage to Florida’s agricultural industry, a significant source of America’s citrus, sugarcane and other important fruit and vegetables,” Franklin added. “Unfortunately, growers in Florida’s heartland do not have access to reasonably priced specialty-crop insurance, making it difficult to recover after harsh winters. Our bipartisan bill creates an affordable index temperature policy, providing much-needed stability and coverage for Florida’s more than 300 specialty crops should temperatures drop below freezing.”

A December 2022 freeze damaged the cold-hardy citrus region that includes North Florida, South Georgia and South Alabama.

In addition to announcing the TEMP Act, Rubio said he will continue to advocate for Florida growers in the upcoming farm bill.

Source: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

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