U.S. Apple Association (USApple) has been working with AgriLogic Consulting, LLC and the USDA Risk Management Agency over the last three years on this latest industry effort to offer growers a new risk management tool.
This project is being developed in cooperation with the USDA Risk Management Agency and once approved, the policy will be available to apple growers in a similar way to other RMA supported crop insurance programs. Initially, the program will be offered in New York, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Virginia.
The preliminary design for the apple tree insurance program would cover weather-related perils that damage trees, with fire blight coverage available as an option. The high cost of new plantings is a major reason for grower interest in this new risk management tool.
“The current crop insurance program helps growers mitigate risk, but the policies only apply to the apples, not the trees themselves,” said Jim Bair, President and CEO of USApple. “Developing an apple tree policy will fill a gap in coverage and protect the investment in trees, arguably the most costly component of apple production.”
With the shift to high-density planting, five times as many trees are planted per acre than a generation ago. This translates to between 1,200 and 1,600 trees and at least a $40,000 capital investment, per acre. Under development, the apple tree insurance program will be the first of its kind to protect this investment and costs associated with weather damage and fire blight.