February is turning out to be a busy month. We hold our quarterly FCIC Board of Directors Meeting soon to consider new policies or modify existing ones. At our last board meeting we approved making our pilot program for Fresh Market Beans a permanent policy. We also expanded the availability of Nursery Value Selection policies to 11 more counties in Florida. We’ll see what next week’s meeting produces.

We strive to expand Federal crop insurance to cover more commodities, like Nursery and Fresh Market Beans. The more producers that participate in Federal crop insurance, the stronger the farm safety net becomes. That is why it is critical to reach out to the new generation of producers, particularly in communities that have historically lacked access to training and resources.

We’re currently funding several education projects from coast to coast. From wildfire mitigation courses in California to record keeping classes in Maryland. One project, led by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, delivers bilingual training on risk management at their upcoming annual conference. I talked with Project Lead, Aisha Cruz-Reyes, to find out more.

Marcia: We’re glad to see projects like yours around the country delivering risk management education. We want our funding to equip beginning farmers with knowledge and prepare them for the challenges they will face.
Aisha: The funding was very much needed to really make the training at the conference a success. We’re also planning for more training events on specific risk management topics of interest to Hispanic and South Texas producers.

Marcia: Ok, can you tell me a little more about your project.
Aisha: It will provide risk management information to producers with presentations at our annual conference held by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Producers will receive some great information and find out what other resources are available to them.

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg hosts the Texas Hispanic Farmer & Rancher
Conference to help enhance the knowledge and networks of South Texas producers

Marcia: It’s essential for growers, especially those beginning farmers and ranchers, to grasp the importance of risk management.
Aisha: It can come across as a daunting concept – everything producers do involves a risk! We provide information and resources and help producers to realize that they manage risk every day so they’re not starting from scratch. They can assess their own situation and build upon their existing measures based on their priorities.

Marcia: We wish you and your team well with this project. And we hope it really helps producers in South Texas.
Aisha: Thank you. I was excited to work with RMA again. My first-ever project was an RMA-funded project, where I learned about outreach and how important it is to focus on local needs. RMA offers great tools for producers and getting the word out about them is just as important as having them available.

I want to thank Aisha and her team at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley for delivering this education project in South Texas.

Organizations interested in leading projects like the current one in Texas, or providing risk management education to producers, should apply now for funding. RMA recently announced that $2 million is available to fund projects for Fiscal Year 2022. Applications must be received by 5:59 pm Eastern Time on March 11 through the Results Verification System at rvs.umn.edu. To learn more, view the announcement on grants.gov.

– Marcia