NEWARK, Del. — USDA’s Risk Management Agency has partnered with Delaware agriculture since 2001 to help producers make more informed risk management decisions. Now the in-state leadership of that effort has changed, but first the results.
In that time, Delaware producers have invested in more crop insurance policies at higher and more effective levels of coverage. According to the RMA Summary of Business report, Delaware went from 964 policies in 2001 to 1,603 policies as of July 2016, and from $30 million of liability coverage in 2001 to $114 million in 2016.
Producers have also increased their use of revenue insurance options as well as the standard yield policies. They have diversified their crop production and ramped up the use of irrigation, also risk management strategies closely associated with the risk management education initiative.
For most of those years, the Delaware Department of Agriculture has been the in-state partner that has lead this effort. This year the leadership shifts to University of Delaware Extension.
“As a former Extension Agent with the University of Delaware, I am very pleased that UD Extension is now spearheading the Delaware/RMA partnership,” said Delaware Ag Secretary Ed Kee.
“I know it is important that an in-state team be the partner in this effort,” said Laurie Wolinski, Director, Northeast Extension Risk Management Education Center and the leader of this year’s partnership.
Wolinski also noted that an in-state partner means a critical mass of knowledge on complex, ever changing, RMA programs stays in Delaware even after the program is over.
“It becomes a more lasting investment on RMA’s part,” she said.
Assisting Wolinski this year is Dan Severson, New Castle County Extension agent.
“With the federal subsidies on crop insurance premiums the end result is that a lot of federal dollars get leveraged into Delaware that would otherwise have gone to other states and that has to be good for our overall economy,” Severson said.
Wolinsky and Severson began in November by holding a feedback session with crop insurance agents and adjusters to get their perspective on risk management issues.
“We are putting some of their issues into our calendar,” Wolinski said. “We want more participation in crop insurance and we want farmers to understand that risk management is not just about preventing downside risks, it is also about taking advantage of upside opportunities.”
— University of Delaware Cooperative Extension