New York Growers Assessing Crop Losses, Weighing Options

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Weathering A Freeze

Apple growers and other fruit producers in New York may realize some benefit from a proposed tax credit for farmers hit hard by wild spring weather. The “Family Farmers and Apple Growers Relief Act,” which would allow growers to claim 35% of their crop losses as a credit for the 2012 tax year, was put forth by several lawmakers who represent the hardest-hit areas of the state, including central and western regions.

In announcing the proposed law and calling for its swift passage, legislators cited an estimate by Cornell University’s Lake Erie Regional Research Laboratory that grape losses due to spring frost are as high as 50%, cherry losses are as high as 100%, peach losses are as great as 90%, and apples were estimated to have suffered a 50% loss statewide.

Two recent stories from New York-based media outlets highlight the struggles growers are currently dealing with:
• “Expect Slim Pickings For Apples And Peaches” from the Syracuse Post-Standard
• “Tax Credit Proposed For Hard-Hit Apple Growers” from the Post-Star

It’s not just New York where crops have been devastated. For other growers in the East facing similar situations, Brian Frieden, USDA’s Risk Management Agency Director for the Springfield, IL, Region, offers a few basic reminders for producers with crop insurance.
• If you have a crop loss, notify your crop insurance agent. Your crop insurance company will discuss your options and send a loss adjuster to work the claim. For producers contemplating whether to maintain the crop for harvest, keep in mind that to adjust the production for quality the crop must reach maturity. The company can establish representative areas or strips to determine production if you decide not to maintain the entire crop. These areas must be maintained as you would under normal conditions until harvest.
• If you are considering removal of trees or vines, contact your insurance company before doing so to ensure it doesn’t impact your claim. Acreage not capable of producing a crop this year should be maintained with next year’s crop in mind.
• Frieden encourages all fruit producers to discuss their claim with the agent and insurance company to understand the options available in this tough year.

Brian Sparks is editor of American Fruit Grower, a Meister Media Worldwide publication.

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