Insurance plan approved for sweet cherries

On April 24, 2008 the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) Board of Directors approved the implementation of a new Actual Revenue History (ARH) Pilot insurance plan for sweet cherries, beginning with the 2009 crop year. Sweet Cherries have been insurable in the FCIC program under the Fixed Dollar Plan since the 1999 crop year. The Fixed Dollar Insurance Plan was authorized as a pilot program for a set number of years and then it was to be evaluated. The program's evaluation took place in 2005. The program continued as a pilot until a suitable replacement was developed.

The ARH Cherry pilot program will be available in all counties formerly covered by the Fixed Dollar Plan; however additional counties have been approved for sales of the ARH program. In the Spokane Region, these additional counties are: Idaho (fresh sweet cherries): Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington counties. Oregon (fresh and processing sweet cherries): Hood River, Marion, Polk, Umatilla, Union, Wasco and Yamhill counties. Washington (fresh and processing sweet cherries): Adams, Benton, Chelan, Douglas, Franklin, Grant, Klickitat, Okanogan, Walla Walla and Yakima counties

The key program dates, including the sales closing date, remain unchanged. The new design changes the basis of the insurance guarantee from a county level offer to an individual producer offer. The ARH design has many parallels to the widely available Actual Production History (APH) Insurance Plan. The primary difference is that the ARH plan insures historical revenues instead of insuring historical yields. The Catastrophic Risk Protection endorsement is not applicable to the ARH Cherry Insurance Plan.

Under the ARH pilot program producers certify annual acreage, production, and crop sales. The definition of revenue for the purpose of this program is the "packinghouse door" valuation, i.e., after harvest and delivery to first point of sale. In order to calculate an approved revenue, producers will certify historical, annual, revenue records by unit. Cherry growers will be able to insure optional units under two types (fresh and processing) depending on the county. A grower will provide 4 years of annual revenue records, building to 10. Growers who do not have 4 years of revenue records will use transitional revenue (T-Revenue) as a substitute in calculating the guarantee.

Like current revenue coverage plans, the ARH pilot program protects growers against losses from low yields, low prices, low quality, or any combination of these events. A key feature of this coverage is that the producer-based revenue to count allows for an indemnity to reflect economic losses due to poor quality.

Cherry growers in the pilot counties are encouraged to contact a local crop insurance agent for additional details well ahead of the Nov. 20, sales closing deadline. Producers who are currently insured will have to have a new policy drawn up for the 2009 crop year since the Fixed Dollar Insurance Plan will no longer be available.

Federal crop insurance program policies are sold and delivered solely through private crop and livestock insurance companies. A list of crop insurance agents is available at all USDA Service Centers throughout the United States or at the RMA Web site address: www3.rma.usda.gov/tools/agents.

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