Hemp farmers can now insure their crops. A local farmer says this is vital

The USDA is offering two programs for farmers. The deadline to apply is March 16, 2020.

Posted: Feb 14, 2020 5:23 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2020 5:45 PM

CENTRAL POINT, Ore. -- Hemp farmers can now insure their crops through the federal government, a big step for a crop that became legal little more than one year ago.

"I mean . . . we have to," said Paul Murdoch, co-owner of Horn Creek Farms. He is signing up for the insurance. This will be his fourth year growing. He says farmers are completely reliant on things that are out of their control. "The weather, fires, market conditions. I mean farming is just nail-biting from beginning to end." 

"Even though it's a good announcement, we are still trying to work on how to do it," said Roosevelt Shannon. He is president and founder of Hemp Aggregator. "I think that it normalizes the hemp industry and brings more people into it, because it brings us a little more insurance."

Shannon says that having insurance will require a sound administrative and back-office operation. "That's one of the limiting factors to getting crop insurance right now."

Murdoch says last year is a great example of why insurance could be important.

"You had rains that came and were alternating with warm and then rain and then warm. Those were perfect conditions for a field rot that decimated some crops," said Murdoch. 

Some people are wondering if the cost of insurance will increase the cost of products.

"How does this fit with the revenue generation aspect when I have to add on all of these additional costs," said Shannon.

Murdoch thinks the cost of insurance shouldn't impact prices. "The price is going to be the price and the farms are just going to have to figure out how to make that a part of their operating costs," he said. 

If you are a hemp farmer, you can apply for the insurance now. The deadline to apply for the 2020 season is March 16th. For more information, you can visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture site.

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