Farm Bureau evaluates specialty crop limitations in farm bill

The American Farm Bureau Federation wants to enhance specialty crop insurance coverage in the next farm bill.

Economist Danny Munch recently analyzed the nearly 80 policies currently in place.

“You have a number of specialty crops—consumer favorites that consumers buy at the store regularly—that just don’t have the same protection or participation as some of your other crops,” he says.

Munch tells Brownfield weather, regional availability, or a lack of coverage are some of the reasons behind gaps.

“When you’re seeing almost 100 percent of lettuce is uncovered and they’re being grown in these states with major natural disasters, there’s obviously an issue there,” he says.

In the past 20 years, Munch says liability coverage has increased by about $16 billion (220%), to nearly $24 billion, while policies sold have stayed near 115,000.

California holds the most policies across the country and states in the Northern Plains, including North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Montana, round out the top five because of dry pea and dry bean crops.

“Like North Dakota, other states in the region like Montana, Minnesota, even down into Nebraska have some of your field specialty crops,” he explains.

Munch says the crops farmers grow shouldn’t limit their access to risk management and the organization plans on finding where improvements can be made in the 2023 Farm Bill.

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