Louisiana’s sugarcane farmers have until September 30 to make crop insurance purchasing decisions for the 2017 crop under a new insurance program that allows for better disaster and other crop loss coverage than previously available for sugarcane.
Jim Simon, manager of the American Sugar Cane League, said the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation and the League worked with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency for more than two years to devise an insurance plan that would work for Louisiana’s unique sugarcane crop.
"The new plan corrects deficiencies in the previous sugarcane crop insurance policy andshould be a much better tool to help our cane farmers manage their risk,” Simon said. "The policy offers more ability for farmers to create financial stability and mitigate risk. On the financial side, bankers and other financiers can now rely on insurance as a legitimate source of payment in case of crop loss.”
Simon said hallmarks of the plan include a new provision to more accurately calculate potential yield losses. It also allows farmers to manage their growing units to more precisely represent their farm structure.
Simon advised all sugarcane farmers to meet with agricultural insurance providers and their bankers as soon as possible to learn how to take advantage of the program to protect their farming operations.
Designers of the sugarcane crop insurance plan hope it will replace the need for emergency funding to support farmers during flooding, killing freezes, hurricanes and other disasters.
Sugarcane, grown in 23 parishes, is Louisiana’s second largest agricultural commodity. The crop generates a $2 billion economic impact to the state’s growers and raw sugar millers and is the largest row-crop in terms of value. The overall economic impact to the state is $3 billion. More than 16,000 jobs are supported by the sugarcane industry.
In 2015, Louisiana 450 farmers harvested 382,000 acres of sugarcane which was produced into 1.4 million tons of raw sugar by the state’s 11 raw sugar mills.