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Central Valley Business TImes - Insurance for Crop Quarantines Proposed

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When there is a federal quarantine of a region to help control or eradicate a pest, growers can lose their crops because they are forbidden to ship them out of the quarantine area.

Now, Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, wants growers to be able to get insurance against such losses.
He is sponsoring legislation in Congress that amends the Federal Crop Insurance Act to expand crop insurance plans to include coverage of losses of commodities due to federal quarantines."

Too often, farmers have to destroy their crops or abandon a harvest due to federal quarantines, laying waste to a full year of hard work and investment. It is time that the farmers affected by these quarantines have the resources in place to protect their livelihoods," said Rep. McNerney.

In the last several years, more than 100 federal quarantine zones have been established across America. In California alone, there were more than 25, with three in San Joaquin County, Mr. McNerney notes. In September of 2011, a federal quarantine in the Stockton area cost farmers over $1 million dollars, he says.

The proposed law, H.R. 6022, directs the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a better support system for farmers in quarantine zones. It would give authority to the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help provide insurance to farmers interested in protecting against the risk of crop losses due to federal quarantines.

"For our local farmers, losing a year's harvest can be devastating. In these tough economic times, farmers need to be able to deal with the challenges that come their way," says Mr. McNerney. "A robust farming community is essential, especially in our region. Our farmers produce some of our nation's most vital specialty crops and are a key component to our region's economic stability."
The proposal is cosponsored by Reps. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, and Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced. It is also endorsed by the California Apple Commission, California Citrus Mutual, California Grape and Tree Fruit League, and the Western Growers Association.

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