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Forum staff reports, Published January 11 2011

Goehring backs fund for new crop insurance concepts

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has proposed the establishment of a state fund to support development of new crop insurance products for North Dakota producers, according to a news release from the Agriculture Department.

“This fund will help insurers research, develop and implement new crop insurance concepts.” Goehring said Tuesday at a news conference in Bismarck. “These new crop insurance products will provide producers with new and improved risk management tools to help them stay in business, thereby ensuring a continuous supply of safe and abundant food supply.”

Goehring stated in a news release that the fund will benefit the state’s major crops, as well as specialty crops. He pointed out that North Dakota leads the nation in production of 14 commodities.

“This is a similar program to one maintained by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation,” Goehring said. “The state fund will work in concert with the FSIS to develop specific products for North Dakota.”

Insurers can apply for up to 75 percent of the first $50,000 in research and development costs of a new product and up to 50 percent of remaining costs. In most cases, the recipients will later reimburse the state.

A seven-member board will oversee the fund, reviewing crop insurance proposals and awarding research and development funds.

“The board also sets the terms of reimbursement from the applicant back to the crop insurance development fund to continue funding future crop insurance concepts,” Goehring said.

The committee would include the governor and the agriculture commissioner or their designees. The Senate and House majority leaders would each appoint a member. The governor would appoint an individual representing an agriculture organization, and the agriculture commissioner would appoint an individual representing the crop insurance industry.