Washington, D.C. – At the urging of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) will ease insurance regulations on fresh apple producers. The rule change will help New York apple producers cut costs and boost efficiency in the record-keeping of their production and distribution, allow them to receive the best possible crop insurance, and end discrimination against smaller apple producers.
“New York State is home to the world’s best apples and the hardest working producers,” Senator Gillibrand said. “They shouldn’t be held back by red tape and bureaucracy. I am pleased we could come to an agreement with the RMA to ease these burdens on our apple producers, helping them to cut costs, cover their crops with the insurance they need, reach new markets and grow their businesses.”
Currently, apple producers are required to keep records of their fresh apple crop in “Sales By Unit” terms from the point of production through distribution and to later sales. This meant that once apples are delivered to a warehouse, the farmer is responsible to track all of the apples by unit – a highly bureaucratic, difficult and fiscally inefficient process for apple farmers across the state. Most apple producers were not eligible for fresh apple crop insurance because they did not meet the necessary standards of record keeping.
Senator Gillibrand’s office worked very closely with the RMA to change the regulation that was burdening New York’s apple producers. Under the new regulations, Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) are allowed to consider records of total production rather than production by unit from the 2007 through 2010 crop years that reflect fresh apple sales.
New York produces approximately 1.25 billion pounds of apples annually, generating nearly $236 million in revenue for the state.