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John Shea, 202-690-0437

New Pistachio Pilot Crop Insurance Program Approved for Selected Counties in California, Arizona and New Mexico

WASHINGTON, Oct 24, 2011 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Risk Management Agency announced today a new pilot program of insurance for pistachios beginning with the 2012 crop year. The Pistachio Crop Insurance Program will make crop insurance available to growers in 21 counties in California, two counties in Arizona, and one in New Mexico. The program was approved by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) Board of Directors on September 22, 2011. RMA operates and manages the FCIC.

The pilot Pistachio Crop Insurance Program is a two-year production-based policy featuring a new approach for addressing alternate bearing commodities like pistachios, where production can vary significantly with years of low production, or "off" years, typically followed by years of high production, or "on" years. Producers will elect a coverage level and price election percentage which remains in effect for the two-year life of the policy. Because production is reported annually, however, the approved yield is recalculated, adjusting to account for cases where the unit is expected to be either on or off for the following year. Any losses incurred will be indemnified on a year-to-year basis.

Because pistachio production often displays these large year-to-year yield swings, T-Yields are not available, so that the policyholder must provide at least four years of production records from the acreage. Pistachio orchards will be insurable after 90 percent of the trees have reached at least the tenth growing season after set out. The alternate bearing adjustment does not apply until the twelfth growing season.

RMA will publish pilot Pistachio Crop Insurance Program provisions and related documentation shortly. The sales closing date will be December 31, 2011.

RMA helps producers manage their business risks through effective, market-based risk solutions. RMA's mission is to promote, support, and regulate sound risk management solutions to preserve and strengthen the economic stability of America's agricultural producers.

Federal crop insurance provides support to American producers as part of the "farm safety net." A strong farm safety net is important to the vitality of American agriculture.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 800-795-3272 (voice), or 202-720-6382 (TDD).