Crop Insurance Evolves to Help Area Organic Farmers

Iowa is among the top states when it comes to the number of organic farms in operation, but local producers have long struggled to obtain crop insurance that can better protect them from losses. A new initiative aims to help close these gaps. Last year’s storms were devastating to farmers in parts of Iowa.

Kate Hansen, policy assistant at the Center for Rural Affairs, said these situations can be especially devastating for small to mid-size local producers who don’t have the right crop insurance that can soften the blow. She noted about a decade ago, when more area organic farms came into existence, there weren’t many coverage plans that matched up with their products. But that’s changed.

Despite the expansion of coverage, Hansen acknowledged there’s still a disconnect in getting these farmers and ranchers to navigate newer plans. That leaves many organic crops under-protected. Her group is out with a new resource guide that covers everything from contract prices to the claims process. The guide also features feedback from crop-insurance agents across the Midwest.

Joshua Manske, an Iowa-based agent, said with the effects of climate change resulting in more extreme weather events, making connections with these producers can mitigate a lot of trouble.

Hansen added helping these producers with the process not only reduces the effects they can feel from such an event, but can also benefit their communities.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Iowa had nearly 800 organic farms in 2019. That ranks the Hawkeye State sixth in the nation. Meanwhile, the deadline to purchase insurance for most spring crops is March 15.

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