On January 23, 2020, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) issued Product Management Bulletin: PM-20-006, announcing the approval of the Apple Tree Policy. https://www.rma.usda.gov/en/Policy-and-Procedure/Bulletins-and-Memos/2020/PM-20-006. In conjunction, RMA released the Apple Tree Crop Provisions, Apple Tree Endorsement, and the Apple Tree Fire Blight Endorsement. https://www.rma.usda.gov/-/media/RMAweb/Policies/Apple-Tree/Apple-Tree-Crop-Provisions-21-APT.ashx; https://www.rma.usda.gov/-/media/RMAweb/Policies/Apple-Tree/Apple-Tree-Crop-Provisions-21-APT/Apple-Tree-Endorsement-21-APT-A.ashx; https://www.rma.usda.gov/-/media/RMAweb/Policies/Apple-Tree/Apple-Tree-Crop-Provisions-21-APT/Apple-Tree-Fire-Blight-Endorsement-21-APT-B.ashx.
ANALYSIS – Other than the policy documents, no information regarding the policy was provided. PM-20-006 simply announced the release of the policy provisions but did not provide any further details. One presumes that the Apple Tree Crop Provisions are modeled after the other tree crops for which insurance is available. This appears to be the case but there are differences, such as no rehabilitation of trees, different sales closing and cancellation dates, etc., that require close examination of policy provisions. The Apple Tree Endorsement is actually a form of the Comprehensive Tree Value Endorsement, which is available for many other tree crops. It does not appear that the Occurrence Loss Option is available for apple trees. However, apple trees do have an Apple Tree Blight Endorsement. It appears to add fire blight as an insurable cause of loss for the payment of an additional premium.
All statements made are opinions of the author and are not intended to provide legal opinions or legal advice.