Gov. Ruth Ann Minner announced Monday, Jan. 5, 2004, that the application period for the new Delaware Crop Insurance Cost Share Program will begin July 15 and continue through Sept. 15.
The purpose of the program, proposed last year by Minner and approved by the Delaware General Assembly, is to help reimburse Delaware farmers who suffer revenue loss from failed crops.
“Agriculture is a key part to Delaware’s economy,” Minner said. “I want to do everything I can to assist our farmers to continue to farm and to continue to add $800 million to our economy. The Delaware Crop Insurance Cost Share Program will provide incentives for farmers to take advantage of recent improvements in available crop insurance products.”
The state Department of Agriculture will administer the program, which will allow Delaware farmers to receive cost share of up to 20 percent of their crop insurance premium, not to exceed $2 per acre. Farmers often cite cost as one of the barriers keeping them from buying crop insurance. This program will make crop insurance more affordable and make it easier for farmers to attain relevant levels of coverage against crop revenue loss.
“Agriculture is more than just the economy, it is our heritage and our way of life,” Minner said. “Most of our open space, which is so vital to creating and preserving Livable Delaware, is found on Delaware’s farms. It enhances all our lives to keep farmers in business.”
The guidelines from the Agriculture Department are as follows:
- Any person farming acreage in Delaware is eligible for the program. Farm Serial Numbers will be checked in the local USDA Farm Service Agency office to verify that acreage is within Delaware borders. Any crop for which a crop insurance policy is available in Delaware and for which insurance premium is paid, is eligible for the program. This includes diverse crops that may be covered under an Adjusted Gross Revenue policy. Crops covered with Catastrophic Coverage are not eligible since no premiums are paid for CAT, only administrative fees.
- The application period for the Delaware Crop Insurance Cost Share Program begins in July, corresponding with the final crop acreage reporting date for spring seeded crops, and closes in September. A simple application form will be provided by DDA. Processing of applications can begin after the producer submits the completed application and the final Schedule of Insurance/Production Report from his/her crop insurance company.
- Insurance premiums for some crops are due on earlier dates than most others. For instance, small grain premiums are due by July 31, while most spring seeded crop insurance premiums are due Oct. 31. All 2004 crop insurance cost share assistance will be calculated after the close of sign-up.
- Prior to receiving benefits, producers will be required to submit evidence that all crop insurance premiums have been paid. This is best provided on an updated Schedule of Insurance, which indicates premium payments credited.
- Individual benefits will be calculated using the 20 percent/$2 per acre maximum criteria. All individual benefits will be tabulated to determine total calculated producer benefits. If this figure exceeds funds provided by the General Assembly, individual benefits will be pro-rated. For this to occur, crop insurance participation or coverage levels would have to increase significantly, according to Minner's office. The need to significantly pro-rate benefits is not anticipated for the first year.