Assessing Damage from Irma

Blueberry Crop Insurance Coverage Reminders

Reports on the extent of damage in the blueberry industry from Hurricane Irma varies across the state— from plants being pulled out of the ground to leaves blown off, and really depends on the location of the farm in Irma’s path.  We will not know the full extent of the damage until the blueberry harvest concludes next spring.

Since the USDA Multi Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI) policy for blueberries covers the fruit and is based on the Actual Production History (APH), any loss claim due to damage from Hurricane Irma will be determined by the actual 2018 production.  If you currently have a 2017 policy and renew the policy for 2018, the loss of production will be covered on the 2018 blueberry policy.  If you do not have a 2017 policy and write a policy for 2018 you would not have coverage for damage caused by Hurricane Irma since the coverage for the 2018 crop year begins on November 21, 2017; however, you would have coverage for other causes of loss.

Coverage for the 2018 crop year began the day after the 2017 crop was harvested, destroyed, etc. in accordance with section 11(b) of the Basic Provisions in the policy.  Damage from Hurricane Irma is covered as an insurable cause of loss for the 2018 crop year if the policy has already rolled to the next crop year.  Please be aware that Section 3(d) of the crop provision applies to carry-over policies.  You may not increase your elected or assigned coverage level or the ratio of your price election to the maximum price election for the next year if a cause of loss that could or would reduce the yield of the insured crop is evident prior to the time you request the increase.

Note that the sales closing date for the 2018 blueberry policy is November 20.  The policy will automatically renew with the previous year’s coverage levels and options.

The acreage and production reporting date is January 15.  This is the time to report the total planted acres.  This includes the number of blueberry bushes, the plant spacing, the plant dates, and the total pounds of marketed production for the past season.  If it is the first year of coverage, then at least four years of production needs to be reported.  If there are less than four years of production, a percentage of the county average will be used to replace up to three years of missing production.  New farms need to have at least 1,000 lbs. per acre of production to qualify for the insurance.


by REGINA THOMAS, Farm Credit of Central Florida’s Director of Financially Related Services.  For questions or more information, please contact her at (407) 721-4687 or [email protected]

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