Maine farmers are identified as “underserved” by the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) due to low crop insurance participation and program availability. The University of Maine Cooperative Extension in partnership with RMA created the Maine Risk Management and Crop Insurance Education Program. The objective is to provide farmers the information needed to make informed risk management decisions. From 2015-2016 our methods were to reach Maine farmers through trainings at state commodity meetings and through mass communication outlets such as Extension newsletters and websites. As a result, we reached approximately 1,922 Maine farmers in-person and 30,410 through mass media. Based on 2015-2016 farmer survey results we received feedback that future outreach should include “real world” examples of crop insurance programs in use, and to involve farmers in future presentations to increase knowledge. As a result of this feedback, our 2016-2017 goal is to improve our outreach by putting a “farmer face” to the crop insurance policies available in Maine. Our methods were to conduct interviews with various Maine farmers who have experience using crop insurance. Farmers were asked to describe their farm, their farming risks, how they manage the risks, why they choose crop insurance, the enrollment steps, what happened when a loss occurred, and how their indemnity was calculated. Audio files and photos were taken of the farmer and their farm. To date, we conducted three interviews of farmers who use apple, lowbush blueberry, and Whole Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) crop insurance policies, respectively. The interviews have been effective outreach tools that have been used in crop insurance sales closing date announcements, and as presentation tools at various commodity group meetings to explain the policies, especially the new WFRP policy. Farmer surveys will be conducted at the end of upcoming meetings to measure the impact of our outreach. Surveys from 2017 will be compared to surveys conducted in 2016 to measure the impact the interviews have had on enhancing our crop insurance outreach.
|Conference||2017 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|