Details of the New Sugarcane Crop Insurance Policy

by Brian Breaux, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation

Louisiana sugarcane farmers and landowners have 30 days left to purchase a much improved sugarcane crop insurance policy before the September 30 crop insurance purchase deadline. 

For years, sugarcane farmers have been plagued with appraisal methods that greatly overestimated sugarcane yields and provisions that left overwintering sugarcane completely uninsured for the entire winter.  In order to fix these problems and others, the Louisiana Farm Bureau and the American Sugarcane League worked for the past 2 years with the U. S. Dept. of Agriculture - Risk Management Agency on a package of sugarcane crop insurance modifications that were submitted to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) and approved this summer. 

The sugarcane crop insurance modifications that were approved include:

  1. Reducing the allowable skip in the Stand Reduction Appraisal Method from 36 to 15 inches that will make spring crop loss calculations more accurate for sugarcane farmers following an early season crop loss
  2. Removal of the provision that eliminated sugarcane crop insurance coverage after a harvest claim leaving a sugarcane farmers’ crop completely uninsured for the entire winter
  3. For the first time, availability of 85% coverage levels for sugarcane
  4. An option for sugarcane farmers to insure by Enterprise Unit which provides lower premium rates by insuring all of a farmer’s sugarcane in a parish as one insurable unit
  5. An option for sugarcane farmers to purchase a crop insurance endorsement starting in 2017 to cover some of the cost of replanting sugarcane following a crop loss
  6. An increase in Louisiana sugarcane’s sugar content from 8.5% to 10% to better calculate the amount of sugar lost when a crop insurance claim is filed
  7. An option for farmers to insure their sugarcane acres by either by Tract or by Farm Serial Number in order to help farmers that have exceptionally large insurable units

Sugarcane is Louisiana’s second largest commodity with 382,000 acres grown by 450 farmers with a $3 billion impact to the State of Louisiana.