Pecan insurance program expanded - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Pecan insurance program expanded

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September 24, 2002

Lee County-- All Georgia pecan growers will have their crops insured by the Department of Agriculture starting next year. A pilot insurance program tested in Dougherty, Lee , and Mitchell Counties will be extended to 82 pecan producing counties in Georgia.

Checking his pecan trees, Roy Goodson worries about the Tropical Storms threatening the Southeast. His trees have a heavy load of nuts, and strong winds and rain could uproot them.

Goodson said "It's of great concern to us. Because we don't want 50 to 60 miles per hour winds on these trees. If all these trees blow down out here, we've got $400 to $600 an acre we won't get anything out of."

It's disasters like hurricanes, disease, or insects that threaten Pecan orchards. It's hoped the new federal insurance program for the pecan crop will keep some of the growers who have been dropping out, in business.

Goodson said "It makes you sleep better at night. It makes you feel better about farming, because you've got some insurance. Something you don't have to worry about near as much." The insurance program will take a growers 5 year average or county average, and pay out if they lose a percentage of their crop.

Goodson said "It's another option that they will have, to help insure at least paying expenses on the current year's crop." Georgia is the nation's top pecan producer, growing over 110 million pounds of nuts last year. Pecan growers feel moving their crop from the disaster program to a farm insurance program will put new life into their Ag industry."

Georgia pecan crop is worth an estimated $90 million a year. The U.S.D.A.'s Pecan insurance program is expected to be extended to cover pecan growers nationwide by 2004.

posted at 3:38 by jimw@walb.com