Senior Policy Specialist
Tel: (919) 542-1396, x210
August 27, 2015
RMA Announces Historic Crop Insurance Reforms to Whole Farm Revenue ProtectionToday the Risk Management Agency of the USDA announced major changes to Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP), including expanded access to beginning farmers and making the policy available in every state and county in the country. These changes will be effective starting in the 2016 crop year.
“In 2016, WFRP will be the first crop insurance policy ever available nationwide. Universal access creates a level playing field for farmers around the country,” says James Robinson, Research and Policy Associate at the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA. RMA also announced that access to WFRP will be granted sooner to beginning farmers. In previous years, WFRP required farmers to provide five years of federal tax forms as part of the application process. Farmers will now only be required to provide three years of federal tax forms, making the program available sooner to beginning farmers.
“Requiring five years of tax records was a significant barrier for beginning farmers in need of a federal risk management program. Reducing the requirement to three years is a strong move in support of beginning farmers,” says Robinson. In 2015, WFRP also capped livestock income at 35 percent of total revenue or $1 million, eliminating farmers from eligibility who earn more than 35 percent of their total revenue from livestock. In 2016, the 35 percent cap will be removed entirely so that a farmer making any amount of revenue from livestock up to $1million will be eligible.
The full list of WFRP changes includes:
- Expansion to every state and every county. Previously the policy had been available in 45 states and most counties in those states.
- Expanded access for beginning farmers, so they can take part if they started farming in 2012 or earlier. The provision allowing coverage for new farmers that take over 90 percent of an existing operation is retained.
- The elimination of the 35 percent limit on expected revenue from animals and animal products, and greenhouse and nursery crops. An overall cap of $1 million on revenue from these sources remains in place.
- The streamlining of record keeping requirements for farmers that market directly to the public, to make the policy more straightforward.
- The ability of farmers to maintain eligibility if a year of tax records are missing as a result of illness or military deployment.
- The ability of tax-exempt organizations, such as tribes, to qualify if they have appropriate records to substitute for tax records.
- Increasing the ability of expanding operations to obtain increased coverage.