News Release – NR07-20 – October 29, 2007

Posted on Oct 29, 2007 in 2007 News Releases, News Releases

HONOLULU —Hawai`i farmers are now able to obtain an additional form of federal crop insurance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). The RMA has just approved expansion of its Adjusted Gross Revenue-Lite (AGR-Lite) insurance plan for all counties in Hawai`i, which provides farmers with insurance protection against low revenue due to unavoidable natural disasters and market fluctuations that affect the farm’s income. Most agricultural producers are eligible for this program, including livestock, aquaculture and honey producers. Farmers may apply for the AGR-Lite program immediately. The deadline to apply for coverage for the current period is March 15, 2008.

“This particular crop insurance program will provide Hawai`i farmers with an invaluable tool to manage their business risk against factors that are not under their control,” said Sandra Lee Kunimoto. “It will especially help our smaller family-run farms that grow multiple crops because the insurance coverage is based on the loss of the total farm revenue rather than losses for only a particular crop or product.”

Previously, federal crop insurance was only available in Hawai`i for macadamia nuts and nursery plants. Earlier this year, a pilot program also made it available for papaya, banana and coffee.

“Hawaii’s approval for AGR-Lite is the result of a collaborative effort of many individuals and institutions,” said Matthew Loke, administrator of the Agricultural Development Division. “There is a strong need for this type of farm revenue insurance to support continuing growth of our diversified agriculture.”

HDOA initiated the application process in March 2006 and coordinated county risk assessments with staff economists, statisticians, loan specialists, extension specialists with the University of Hawai`i College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation staff and volunteer agricultural producers. The Western Center for Risk Management Education also played a pivotal role in providing technical assistance to assess the risk of various commodities grown in the state.

Letters of support for Hawaii’s application were provided by the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), County of Hawaii’s Department of Research and Development, Hawai`i Farm Bureau Federation (HFBF), Hawai`i Florists and Shippers Association (HFSA), Kona Pacific Farmers Cooperative (KPFC) and the Rural Community Insurance Services (RCIS) Company.

Along with Hawai`i, the RMA also approved Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Colorado for inclusion in the program, bringing the total number of state in the program to 35.

Agricultural producers interested in finding more information on the AGR-Lite whole-farm revenue insurance may visit the RMA website at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/policies/agr-lite.html

USDA-RMA will be conducting statewide meetings later this year to inform Hawai`i agricultural producers about the program.

The AGR-Lite policy has a liability limit of $1 million. The federal government will pay a portion of the premium for the policy that equals 48 percent, 55 percent, and 59 percent of the total premiums for coverage levels of 80 percent, 75 percent, and 65 percent, respectively.

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