Steve Bennett of Riverbend Nurseries in Tennessee represented the American Nursery and Landscape Association at a House Agriculture Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management hearing, offering his concerns about the effectiveness and operational efficiency of the federal crop insurance program.
Bennett told the committee about the challenges he and other nurseries faced following an Easter weekend freeze in 2007. He noted the importance of federal crop insurance yet explained that more could be done to support growers.
“At present, the federal crop insurance program falls short of adequately addressing the extreme diversity and unique situations presented by a free-market segment of agriculture that grows thousands of varieties–in every state,” Bennett says. “Despite these challenges, federal crop insurance programs remain a valuable component of the nursery industry’s risk management practices.”
In addition, Bennett complimented the committee on its past successes involving the program, including:
– Using a grower’s wholesale price list as the basis for coverage valuation based upon proof of market. Now, a grower who buys up may use their own price lists, while those who purchase only a catastrophic coverage policy are limited to the USDA Risk Management Agency’s price list;
– Coverage for plants grown in smaller than 3-inch containers;
– Having field grown and containerized plants treated as separate crops