Press Release

Gillibrand Announces USDA To Expand Barley Crop Insurance Coverage To New York State Producers, Boosting Local Breweries & Distilleries

Jul 6, 2016

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA) will be expanding conventional barley crop insurance to 13 new counties this year and an additional 16 counties for crop year 2017. Additionally, RMA will begin offering coverage for malting barley in four counties beginning in 2017. This expansion comes after Senator Gillibrand called on USDA Secretary Vilsack to provide crop insurance for barley in all counties in New York where production is possible. Prior to this expansion, barley crop insurance was only available in 28 counties across New York. Since 2011, there has been a 72 percent increase in farm-based breweries, cideries, and distilleries in New York, which has created significant demand for barley and other small grains.

“Expanding crop insurance for barley is an important step to sustain and improve the viability of our farms and connected industries,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the first New York Senator to serve on the Senate Agriculture Committee in nearly 40 years. “A key to encouraging producers to plant these crops is to ensure that they can manage their risk with appropriate crop protection programs. Expanding crop insurance will help meet the growing demand of breweries and distilleries throughout New York.”

In her letter to USDA, Gillibrand explained there are many producers outside these areas that would benefit from crop insurance for barley. By expanding the current barley crop and developing a production history, insurers would have the data they need to create coverage for valuable malting barley that already covers nearly 2,000 acres of New York farmland.

Due to the New York State farm Brewing Law passed in 2012, a certain percentage of grain used in production must be grown in New York State. The legislation was designed to increase demand for locally grown products to further increase economic impact and create new businesses surrounding the brewing industry.

The conditions of a Farm Brewery license in New York State are:

  • Until the end of 2018, at least 20% of the hops and 20% of all other ingredients must be grown in New York State.
  • From January 1, 2019 to December 31, 2023, no less than 60% of the hops and 60% of all other ingredients must be grown in New York State.
  • From January 1, 2024, no less than 90% of the hops and 90% of all other ingredients must be grown in New York State.

Under the RMA policy to be offered in 2017, if a producer holds a contract to sell malting barley and suffers a yield loss, the insurance can pay up to 1.85 times of the RMA established barley market price for that loss.