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Some Industrial Hemp Farmers Will Qualify For Federal Crop Insurance Beginning In 2020

Nina Zdinjak

The United States Department of Agriculture said Tuesday that industrial hemp cultivators will be eligible for insurance coverage under the Whole-Farm Revenue Protection program for crop year 2020.

Only hemp growers who are part of a Section 7606 state or university research pilot authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill will be able to obtain WFRP coverage right away, according to the USDA.

Other farmers who grow hemp under the 2018 version of the legislation will be able to attain WFRP coverage once a USDA-approved plan is in place. 

Only cultivators that grow hemp for fiber, flower or seed are eligible for insurance coverage, according to the USDA’s Risk Management Agency. 

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“Numerous producers are anxious for a way to protect their hemp crops from natural disasters,” Martin Barbre, administrator of the Risk Management Agency, said in a press release.

“The WFRP policy will provide a safety net for them. We expect to be able to offer additional hemp coverage options as USDA continues implementing the 2018 Farm Bill.”

The WFRP insurance program has set a limit of covering up to $8.5 million in revenue for commodities produced on a farm.

“It is popular for specialty crops, organic commodities and non-traditional crops,” according to the USDA.

With the Farm Bill characterizing hemp as having 0.3% or less THC on a dry weight basis, plants that contain more THC can’t be covered by insurance and will not pass for replant payments under WFRP.

Among other policy requirements, a hemp cultivator must follow local and federal hemp production regulations and have a contract for the purchase of the insured hemp. 

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