Members of Congress representing Virginia successfully secured the state’s inclusion in a hemp crop insurance pilot program that will be used to inform a future federal insurance model through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
In a letter sent to AgriLogic, the company running the program, the Virginia congressional delegation said they hadn’t been notified that applications were open and that Virginia’s experience with the crop makes it an ideal initial pilot state.
“As AgriLogic works to finalize its hemp crop insurance pilot, we ask that Virginia receive full and equal consideration for inclusion in the program,” the senators and representatives wrote. “We believe including Virginia would result in the development of a stronger and more robust insurance product, which would benefit growers, processors, consumers, and taxpayers across the country.”
Sens. Tim Kaine (D-VA)and Mark Warner (D-VA), along with Reps. Denver Riggleman (R-VA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Elaine Luria (D-VA) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), each signed the letter.
On Thursday, AgriLogic replied to notify the lawmakers that the state would be included. The company is expected to submit its pilot plan to USDA next week, and pending approval from the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, the program could launch in time for the 2020 planting season.
I am excited at the progress we have made by adding Virginia to the AgriLogic hemp crop insurance program. This program will allow for exponential growth in hemp production and is a huge win for Virginia and the 5th District. #VA05
Read more here:https://t.co/usP2TPxXkl
— Congressman Denver Riggleman (@RepRiggleman) September 26, 2019
“We are thrilled to have been able to secure Virginia’s place in this critical pilot program,” the lawmakers said in a press release. “The Commonwealth has a long history of industrial hemp research and development and Virginia’s inclusion in this critical pilot program will allow producers to better protect their crops in the event of a natural disaster.”
“Additionally, the data collected from our producers will help provide a stronger and more robust insurance product, benefitting growers, processors, consumers, and taxpayers across the U.S.,” they said.
Riggleman said he’s “excited at the progress we have made by adding Virginia to the AgriLogic hemp crop insurance program.”
“This program will allow for exponential growth in hemp production and is a huge win for Virginia and the 5th District,” he said. “Virginia is already one of the top hemp producers in the country and its inclusion in this pilot program will help farmers and grow the economy in the 5th District.”
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the production of hemp as an agricultural commodity. I’m pleased I was able to work with my Virginia colleagues to ensure that the Commonwealth was included in AgriLogic’s crop insurance pilot program for industrial hemp. https://t.co/bnrrj2huQX
— Congressman Ben Cline (@RepBenCline) September 27, 2019
While USDA announced last month that hemp farmers operating under the 2014 Farm Bill pilot program will qualify for crop insurance, the coverage is limited to fiber, flower or seeds. Coverage will become available to farmers under the 2018 version of the agriculture legislation, which federally legalized hemp and its derivatives, after USDA finalizes regulations for the crop.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the chief proponent of hemp legalization, inserted language into a disaster relief bill in May that clarifies hemp cultivators are entitled to federal crop insurance.
However, Bill Northey, undersecretary for farm production and conservation at USDA, said last week that there are “challenges coming up with a product [for hemp] that fairly represents the risk, and understanding how it should be priced.”
Read the letter lawmakers sent to AgriLogic below: