The U.S.D.A. is rolling out a new insurance option designed for producers with small farms who sell locally.

It’s called the Micro Farm Policy and it simplifies record-keeping and covers post-production costs like washing and value-added programs. Iowa Farmers Union President Aaron Lehman sees this as a great option for beginning and small-to-medium-sized farmers.

“For that type of farmer, there tends to be a lack of support mechanisms that are in place for more traditional farmers,” Lehman says, “and it’s a big barrier for our next generation of farmers and our farmers who want to connect with their local communities through growing local and regional food.”

Lehman says the Micro Farm Policy promises to fit well with producers who are looking to grow their operations in new directions. “It’s not just those who are new to farming,” Lehman says. “It’s for farmers who want to diversify their farm operation and branch into different operations. A modified whole-farm policy that is more accessible, is certainly a big part of it.”

Lehman says a wide range of Iowa farmers can use this type of insurance program. “We have a lot of farmers who need the enhanced services that this might provide,” he says, “so we’ll see how the roll-out goes and how it comes from here.” The Micro Farm Policy will be available beginning with the 2022 crop year through Whole Farm Revenue Protection.

(By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton)