North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Roger Johnson is urging federal officials to find the resources to provide crop insurance for buckwheat.
"Soaring production costs will undoubtedly cause many producers to reduce or completely give up buckwheat in favor of insurable crops," Johnson says. "The diminished production will, in turn, damage our buckwheat industry and markets which have been developed by producers and handlers over the years."
North Dakota is the nation's leader in buckwheat production. More than 40,000 acres are planted annually.
Buckwheat producers and handlers have been trying for many years to secure federal crop insurance for buckwheat.
"Rules published in 2006 provided the welcome prospect that buckwheat insurance would finally be offered in the proposed 'Combo' insurance policy and would be available by 2009," Johnson says. "Unfortunately, RMA has now announced that fiscal constraints will delay implementation of the Combo policy, again leaving buckwheat producers without insurance."
The Combo policy is a proposed combination crop insurance policy that will provide revenue and yield protection for certain kinds of crops, including rice, cotton, canola, rapeseed and buckwheat. It would replace crop revenue coverage, income protection and other policies with the goal of reducing paperwork and simplifying risk management decisions.
"I understand that current federal budget circumstances are dire," Johnson says. "However, I urge that RMA diligently seek resources to quickly complete the Combo policy or provide insurance for contract grown buckwheat through an alternative policy."