USDA has expanded its crop insurance options to include grapevine loss from natural disasters. Fruit growing on the vine is already covered. But Marcia Bunger, administrator for the USDA’s Risk Management Agency, called the new program critical, since the loss of a grapevine is much more costly than the fruit and takes time to reestablish. “This is one of the strongest reasons producers were requesting coverage possibilities like this,” said Bunger. The program covers freeze, fire, hail, flood, and failure of the irrigation water supply caused by an unavoidable naturally occurring event.

According to RMA, the Grapevine insurance program is based on the Tree Based Dollar Amount of Insurance (TDO) Plan and includes an Occurrence Loss Option that provides coverage for smaller losses, at an additional premium, for producers with buy-up coverage. It is classified as a “mortality policy,” paying losses when the vine is dead or so badly damaged it will not recover in the following 12 months. Producers using Freeze Protection practices in their operation that are recognized by industry experts can also benefit from lower premium costs under the program.

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The program will be available in select counties in California, Idaho, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington for the 2024 crop year. The deadline for signing up for insurance is Nov. 1, 2023.

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