Understanding the 2020 Florida Blueberry Policy to Maximize Coverage Levels

 Sales Closing Date: November 20, 2019

Blueberry growers are subject to many different risks, such as production, weather, and price. Crop insurance from Farm Credit of Central Florida helps to mitigate the risks growers face.

A grower, working alongside his trusted agent, determines which policy works best for their operation using our many useful tools and worksheets that show different scenarios by using various coverage levels and marketing strategies.

There are two policies available for blueberry growers – Actual Production History (APH) and Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP). The main difference between the two is that APH provides coverage against losses in production, while WFRP provides coverage against losses in revenue.

Coverage:

APH is a Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) policy that provides protection against a decrease in yields due to causes of loss such as:

  • adverse weather conditions;
  • failure of irrigation water supply (if caused by an insured peril);
  • fire; insects or plant disease;
  • insufficient chilling hours; and
  • Wildlife.

Eligibility:

Eligibility requirements for the policy include growing Highbush or Rabbiteye varieties with production of at least 1,000 lbs. per acre in at least 1 of 3 previous crop years. Container grown blueberries are not eligible for coverage on the MPCI policy, but are under WFRP.

 

What is the APH – Actual Production History and How is it Calculated

  • Is a policy based on the average of the insured farm’s actual historical production records of at least 4 years and building to 10 years.
  • The insured must report all production in the history period and cannot break continuity of reporting production from year to year without significant yield penalty.
  • New growers or blocks that do not have records to make up at least four years, the APH will be based on a combination of the actual and county T-Yields (or a factor thereof) in the Actuarial.
    • If the producer has only 1-3 years of production (minimum required 1,000 pounds/acres), the T-Yield can be used for the remaining up to 4 years.
      • 1 actual-80% of T-Yield (for the current production year)
      • 2 years of actual-90% of T-Yield (for the current production year)
      • 3 or more years of actuals-100% of T-Yield (for that current production year)
  • Use of another person's/farm's production history:
    • Persons who have had an SBI interest in an entity are deemed to have "shared" for purposes of qualifying to use that entity's records for APH if they take over those acres.
    • Persons who have participated in management decisions and performed physical labor to produce the crop or had a share of the crop on the transferred acreage.
  • Basic unit or optional Units-
    • Basic Units- all production in a county of either Highbush or Rabbiteye will be combined to determine a global APH guarantee.
    • Optional Units- production history from noncontiguous locations will stand on their own to determine the APH guarantee. Must have different farm numbers with FSA.
    • Production may be reported by block if separate pick records are maintained. This can be advantages when making the following adjustments to establish the global APH guarantee.

Coverage Level Prices Lower for 2020 Blueberry Policy

  • Guaranteed level of approved farm APH yield range from 50-75% (in 5% increments)
  • CAT-2020 change in price to $655 per policy. Quote buy-up coverage to see if you can have more coverage for the difference.

  • Buy-Up- Percent price   coverage levels range from 55-100% (in 5% increments) of the annual RMA-established crop price i.e.
    • The coverage for conventional and organic transitional Highbush irrigated with frost protection for 2020 is $2.70 at 100% of the price coverage level (decrease from $2.85 for 2019)
    • The coverage for organic Highbush irrigated with frost protection for 2020 is $4.30 at 100% of the price coverage level (decrease from $4.70 for 2019)
  • If trying to maximize coverage while controlling the producer premium you can consider covering at a higher guaranteed level while using a lower percentage of the price guarantee.

Using Adjustments to Increase Guaranteed APH on Blueberry Policies

The following are adjustments to the simple APH average that can help to increase the guaranteed production level of the MPCI policy:

  •  Yield Adjustment (YA) allows 60% of the T-Yield to replace the actual yield, where the T-yield (T=Transitional) is specified by the RMA. The YA works best is when the actual yield is below 65% of the T-yield.
    • Available with CAT
    • For 2020 must be elected on application
    • If you just meets the 1,000 pounds/acres, you can use YA for actual
  • Yield Cup (YC) option limits the actual production history (APH) approved yield from dropping more than 10% from one year to the next. Prior to 2018, the YC was automatic. This year, the yield limitation will be on option that must be added or cancelled by the Sales Closing deadline on a crop/county basis.
    • Yield cups are now authorized to apply independently or with other yield adjustment measures, such as yield substitution, yield exclusion and trend adjusted yields so the premium rating methodology has also been amended.
    • The YC option is only available on buy-up policies-not CAT

 

  • Yield Exclusion (YE) allows specific years to be dropped from the calculation of guarantee yields. Each county may have specific years that can be excluded from the APH yield calculation. To be excluded, the county (or its contiguous counties) has to have a yield for a year below 50% of the average of the previous 10-years of county yields. The determination of county-year combinations eligible for exclusion is done by the Risk Management Agency (RMA) and made available in their actuarial documents.
  • Trend Adjustment- Trend-Adjusted APH, if elected adjusts yields in APH databases to reflect increases in yields through time in the county. Trend adjustments are made on each eligible yield within a qualifying APH database based on the county's historical yield trend. The actuarial documents provide the historical yield trend. The approved APH yield is calculated using trend-adjusted yields and any other applicable yields within the APH database.

Risk management is not eliminating all risk. It does, however, limit the risk to a level to which the grower is willing to accept or bear. Each operation is unique and able to handle different levels of risk. There is no "one size fits all" in crop insurance. Each grower should work with his crop insurance agent to review all the options available and determine which policy and coverage levels work best.

Records Required to Establish Actual Production History (APH

  • U-Pick/Direct Market

A pre-harvest appraisal, performed by a representative from the insurance company is required to be performed within 15 days of beginning of harvest if production is marketed directly to consumers i.e. –U-Pick. This appraisal is used as supporting documentation in conjunction with pick records, machine harvest records, and/or daily sales records. With the exception for vertically integrated producers, a pre-harvest appraisal alone is an acceptable production record.

Pick Records are considered acceptable production records unless the policy requires a pre-harvest appraisal and/or records of sold production. Pick records must be legible and include the following to be acceptable:

  • The name of the person(s) paid by the grower for the harvest of the crop. The person can be an individual or business entity who is designated as the "picker" of the crop.
  • The date the crop was picked, the location of the crop, the price paid per volume picked and must support the production report provided by the insured, e.g., unit/P/T. The price paid must be on the basis of the insurable unit of measure and weight. When applicable, the volumes of the field containers must be provided (e.g., bins) and any applicable volume/weight of the pieces picked along with type and practice.
  • Verifiable proof of payment to the picker(s) for the harvesting of the crop. Any of the following is acceptable verifiable proof of payment.
    • Photocopy of cancelled check(s) to picker showing the banking institutions stamp of payment.
    • Photocopy of payments made to Social Security Administration for tax payments made on behalf of picker(s).
    • Other proof of payment to the picker, e.g., paid invoice, other bank certification of payment.
  • The insured must reconcile the pick record to their certification on the production report including the calculations used to determine the total production certified by the insured and must reconcile the location on the pick record to the appropriate production report.
  • Commercial/Broker Sales- Broker records of pounds delivered and sold with price received.

Upon request of RMA or the underwriting insurance company, a photocopy of all pick records for the applicable crop year must be provided by the insured. When applicable, the photocopies must be of the actual daily running tallies of production harvested by each picker and location.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Information sourced from Diversified Crop Insurance. 

Certain limitations, conditions, and exclusions apply. Please refer to the policy for more details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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