Horticulture Field Specialist
Value Added Agriculture Program Specialist
Iowa State University Extension & Outreach
The Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) plan is designed to provide crop insurance to diverse specialty crop farmers. It is intended to provide protection across all farming enterprises including livestock, specialty crops and aquaculture. It differs from other insurance plans because it provides coverage across non-traditional crops and is available in every county in every state. In addition, coverage is based off of actual farm production and sales records. It recognizes a proven crop value. This is especially beneficial to farmers who are primarily selling direct to consumer and/or receiving higher prices due to local or organic sales. It covers crop value with minimal processing required to take it to market and does not cover value-added products. Whole farm revenue protection, as the name indicates, is based on the total gross revenue for the total farm as determined by tax form Schedule F over a history of five years (three for beginning farmers). Crop losses may be due to natural causes or declining market value. Losses must be due to reasons not controlled by a farmer. Frost, hail, and floods are common non-farmer controlled losses. Losses due to failing to provide pest management are not covered under this program.
The WFRP plan is a public / private partnership. Private insurance companies provide the actual coverage based on standardized rules as determined by the USDA Risk Management Agency. Premiums and administration costs are subsidized through the USDA.
You can still apply for 2017 WFRP insurance. Closing dates vary by region and county; they are either January 31st, February 28th, or March 15th. However, do not wait to get started; good insurance agents are busy! Find a local agent by visiting your local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office or by visiting the USDA Risk Management Agency’s Agent Locator website. Your agent will require your Schedule F tax forms for five years (2011 to 2015 or three years for beginning farmers). In addition, you should provide your production and sales records. These records will help determine next year’s coverage and are especially useful if the farm is in a state of expansion or decline. You will also need to provide an intended production plan for the year to be insured.
The WFRP plan provides coverage of 50 percent gross income. Coverage can be bought up in 5 percent increments to 85 percent. The WFRP incentivizes diversification; the plan promotes crop diversity and to reach the highest protection levels, a farm must have at least three crops to be eligible for 80 percent and 85 percent protection. In addition, the more diverse a farm is, the lower the premiums up to seven different crops.
Scenario 1: Bob’s Farm has a five-year average gross annual income on tax form Schedule F of $100,000. That income is split as: Tomatoes = $25,000, Peppers = $25,000, Sweetcorn = $25,000, and Leafy greens (grouped to include kale, lettuce, and mustard) = $25,000. Three or more crops on the farm allows Bob to buy up the protection level to 80 percent of gross. Bob now experiences a total tomato crop loss and reports a gross income of only $75,000 on his Schedule F. In this scenario, Bob purchased 80 percent protection (which is $80,000) but only generated $75,000 in gross sales. He would then be paid $80,000 - $75,000 = $5,000 for his lost tomato crop.
Scenario 2: Bob’s Farm has a five-year average gross annual income on tax form Schedule F of $100,000. That income is split as: Tomatoes = $25,000, Peppers = $25,000, Sweetcorn = $25,000, and Leafy greens (grouped to include kale, lettuce, and mustard) = $25,000. Three or more crops on the farm allows Bob to buy up the protection level to 80 percent of gross. Bob now experiences a total tomato crop loss but is able to replant some of the field to leafy greens. With the additional leafy greens, Bob reports a gross income of $85,000 on his Schedule F. In this scenario, Bob purchased 80 percent protection (which is $80,000) and generated $80,000 in gross sales. He would then be paid $80,000 - $80,000 = $0 for his lost tomato crop.
For more information
More details are available on the USDA RMA Whole Farm Revenue Protection program webpage and factsheet.