PROTECTING FARM REVENUE IN NH
Dec 17, 1999 - The Brookdale Fruit Farm, Inc., located in Hollis, New Hampshire, requires a lot of work
to keep up with 200 acres of orchards and 150 acres of fruit and vegetables. But Eleanor Whittemore's family
has been making it work for a long time. According to Mrs. Whittemore, "My family started farming this land in 1847." Today, Mr. Whittemore's brother and wife and three sons now join in to keep the farm a financial success.
This year, for the first time, the Whittemores were able to buy crop insurance to protect the income from their farm. In past years, the diversity of crops that spread inherent risk prevented the family from participating in traditional crop insurance programs. The farm had been self-insured until this year. But that has changed.
The Whittemore's heard about crop insurance from their local Extension and Farm Service offices. Brookdale is one of the first farms to participate in the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) pilot program. The non-traditional, whole farm risk management tool uses a producer's historic Schedule F tax form to determine a level of guaranteed revenue for the insured period.
"In the event of a crop loss, the AGR policy can be used to help meet our operating expenses. We've been seeing difficult weather patterns like this summer's drought that have affected our production," said Mrs. Whittemore.
While not organic, the Whittemores practice the latest in technological advances minimizing pesticide use and going to smaller, more productive fruit trees. The farm is also in the process of switching to the drip method of irrigation. To enhance income and diversify the business, the farm now has a roadside stand that sells their produce and specialty gourmet, bakery, and gift items. Besides direct marketing, the family also wholesales produce to nearby large towns and local areas.