Welcome News for a Storm-Battered State

It seems like just last week we were picking up the pieces after Hurricanes Ian and Nicole upended our lives. To be fair, even though the storms made landfall late last year, officials are just now learning the exact extent of the damage and loss the agriculture industry suffered in the storms.

The good news is that farmers may be able to breathe a little easier during the upcoming storm season. That’s because the USDA is expanding its Hurricane Insurance Protection-Wind Index Endorsement with a Tropical Storm Option, which the Risk Management Agency (RMA) will offer for the 2023 crop year.

The RMA says the additional option is a direct response to feedback from those in the ag industry. The Tropical Storm Option pertains to strong weather systems not categorized as hurricanes. The option would cover named tropical storms, as reported by NOAA, with maximum sustained winds exceeding 34 knots and precipitation exceeding 6 inches over a four-day period. Both the wind trigger and precipitation trigger must occur for an indemnity to be paid.

The coverage will be available for all Florida counties. 

Just last month, economists from the University of Florida fine-tuned their estimate of agricultural losses from Hurricane Ian alone to $1.03 billion. That takes into account losses in citrus; vegetables and melons; greenhouses and nurseries; noncitrus fruit; field and row crops; and livestock and animal products.

While resilience is key, it never hurts to have more people in your corner who understand the implications a serious storm can have, and that’s exactly what this news means.  

Also, one final thing. This is the Youth in Agriculture edition of Central Florida Ag News — one of my personal favorites of the year. Although this edition leads with this topic, in reality every edition of the year has some aspect of Youth in Ag news and information. In addition, Central Florida Media Group donates more than 3,000 magazines a month to the school system for use in Agriculture classrooms across the region. Yes, we support and believe in our kids … and we put our money where our mouth is. Thanks for reading.

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