RMA Administrator Visits Delaware
Posted By: Martin Barbre, RMA Administrator
Alex Sereno and Martin Barbre answer questions at the crop insurance meeting in Greenwood, Delaware
From left to Right, Phillip Sylvester, University of Delaware Extension, Martin Barbre, RMA Administrator, Alex Sereno, Director RMA Raleigh Regional Office, and Dale Blessing, Kellie Blessing and Melissa Blessing, Kent County, Delaware producers
Producers in attendance at a crop insurance meeting in Greenwood, Delaware
Ever since I came on board at USDA I’ve made it a priority to get out of the beltway and visit with farmers around the country to understand their unique regional needs. I’ve had the pleasure of talking to growers from all parts of the country, and recently made a point to with farmers in Delaware to address questions regarding crop insurance and RMA programs.
Along with RMA Raleigh Regional Office Director Alex Serano, we visited three farms throughout the state of Delaware in late November. Alex and I were excited to learn all about what makes Delaware and Maryland area farms unique in US agriculture by visiting various farming operations and interacting with more than 70 farmers during a meeting held at Chorman’s Airport in Greenwood, Delaware.
Nancy King of King Crop Insurance facilitated the tours and meetings. She was a wonderful and informative host. According to her, the majority of Delaware farms are family owned with a variety of crops and farming operations with high participation in crop insurance. For Nancy, it was important that area farmers have their concerns heard and addressed by officials with intimate knowledge of the program. Alex and I were more than happy to attend.
We listened to farmers talk about topics from RMA’s rules on double cropping, to getting more crops in the region insured, to having insurance periods extended. It’s invaluable to hear first-hand from farmers about the challenges they face with various crop insurance scenarios. We walked away with a better understanding of why some key issues need to be addressed, and most important, a motivation to find ways to improve the program to meet the diversity of Delaware’s environment.
Not only were we able to hear from farmers, we also had the opportunity to tour operations that showed the diversity of farming in the area. We visited Evans Farms in Bridgeville, Delaware where 17 different crops are grown, and the owners use RMA’s Whole Farm policy. We also dropped by a grain farm, and a poultry operation that also grows vegetables and grain crops.
I am always appreciative of the opportunity to see farmers and their operations at work feeding the world and being good stewards of the land. Alex feels the same way. For him, a lot of what we do when we visit the farmers and ranchers of America is about customer service and showing people that RMA cares and is continuing to learn about the farmers and ranchers that our agency supports.
Alex explained to me that Sussex County, Delaware has more insured acres than any other county in the Northeastern US. Meeting these farmers and discussing their operations gave us a lot of insight into why they use the program more than farmers in neighboring states, and also what we can do to enhance the program in the Northeast.
I would like to say thank you to Nancy King and all the people who greeted us with open arms on our trip to Delaware. Alex and I listened carefully and plan on continuing to provide the best service that we possibly can through RMA’s many programs, while using customer feedback to further improve upon the crop insurance program.
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