Local foods producers invited to share feedback on crop insurance

Farm and Food

Andrea Hartman contributed to this blog

For farmers and ranchers who sell to local markets, crop insurance options are limited. This leads many operations to forego crop insurance as a risk management strategy, or to only insure a portion of their crops.

If you are a local foods producer who would like to offer feedback or ideas about your crop insurance options, consider attending an upcoming virtual listening session.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA), the agency that administers federal crop insurance, will hold a series of virtual listening sessions in the coming weeks. The discussions will focus on insurance options for local foods producers. Any and all feedback is welcome, including ways existing crop insurance programs can be improved, as well as exploring the possibility of a new crop insurance program.

Sessions are divided by region and industry, and will be held from mid-August through early September. Local foods producers in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, and South Dakota are invited to join a listening session at noon CT, Aug. 24.

There will also be a listening session on livestock at noon CT on Aug. 27. All other meeting times can be found in the table below. 

Those unable to attend a listening session are invited to submit feedback via phone or email until Sept. 10. Comments can be sent to Andre Williamson at awilliamson@agralytica.com or 240.432.0308. If sending an email, please put  “Local foods insurance” in the subject line.

The listening sessions are required as part of the 2018 farm bill, so RMA can hear feedback from local producers about crop insurance. Local foods include, but are not limited to, farmers markets, community-supported agriculture (CSAs), schools, restaurants, retailers, roadside stands, and other institutions.

Since its creation, federal crop insurance has been best suited for only a handful of types of crops and operations. While changes have been made in recent years to provide coverage for more producers—such as adding to the list of eligible crops, the creation of Whole Farm Revenue Protection, and introducing organic prices for multi-peril coverage—many farms are still left out.

Local foods encompass a broad range of products, yet corn, soybeans, cotton, and wheat alone accounted for more than 75 percent of federal crop insurance subsidies last year. Producers selling to local markets face a variety of risks that insurance may be able to assist with.

Feedback received during the listening sessions will help RMA identify potential changes or additions to crop insurance options. This is why it is important for farmers’ and ranchers’ voices to be heard.

Meeting schedule

Region Group Date Pacific Time Mountain Time Central Time Eastern Time
West & Mountain            

Region 1: AZ, CA, CO, HI, NV, NM, UT

Producers Aug. 17 Noon 1 p.m.     
California Producers Aug. 18  Noon      

Region 3, AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY

Producers Aug. 19 10 a.m.       
West Coast—Insurance AIPs, adjusters, agents Aug. 19 2 p.m.       
Direct: Farmers marketers, CSA
operators, Roadside stands, others
Producers, agents, others Aug. 20 9 a.m.  10 a.m.  11 a.m.  Noon
Other (intermediated) direct
marketers: retailers, schools,
institutions, others
Producers, agents, others  Aug. 20 1 p.m. 2 p.m. 3 p.m. 4 p.m.
Region 4: IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD
Producers Aug. 24     Noon  
Region 7: IL, IN, MI, OH, WI Producers Aug. 25     Noon  
Region 5: AR, LA, MS, OK, TX Producers Aug. 26     Noon  
Livestock Producers, agents, others Aug. 27 10 a.m. 11 a.m. Noon 1 p.m. 
AIPs, adjusters, agents  Aug 27     2 p.m.  
Urban farms Producers, agents, others  Aug. 28 10 a.m. 11 a.m. Noon 1 p.m. 
East Coast/Others            
Region 6: FL, GA, AL*, KY, NC, SC, TN, VA, WV Producers  Aug. 31       Noon
Region 2: CT, DE, ME, MD, MA, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, VT  Producers Sept. 1       Noon
East Coast —Insurance AIPs, adjusters, agents  Sept. 2       Noon
Floriculture Producers, agents, others Sept. 3 9 a.m. 10 a.m. 11 a.m. Noon

Participants are invited to join the sessions via Zoom, or call in by telephone.


Host: USDA Risk Management Agency

Computer/app participants: Click on the link below and, if prompted, enter the passcode “local"


Passcode: local
Meeting ID: 873 7287 2344 

Telephone participants: You can mute and unmute yourself by typing “*6” (star, followed by the number 6). 

Dial by your location (if you have free long distance, any of these should work) 
+1 646 558 8656 US (New York) 
+1 301 715 8592 US (Germantown) 
+1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago) 
+1 669 900 9128 US (San Jose)
+1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma) 
+1 346 248 7799 US (Houston) 

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kclzmxreEX

Meeting ID: 873 7287 2344 
Passcode: 746512