Final Agency Determination: FAD-181
Request dated January 11, 2013 requesting a Final Agency Determination for the 2012 crop year requesting the interpretation of section 7 of the Northern Potato Crop Insurance Provisions, published at 7 C.F.R. 457.142. This request is pursuant to 7 C.F.R. 400, subpart X.
Section 7 of the Northern Potato Crop Insurance Provisions published at 7 C.F.R. 457.142 state in relevant part:
7. Insurable Acreage
In addition to the provisions of section 9 of the Basic Provisions, we will not insure any acreage that:
(a) Does not meet the rotation requirements contained in the Special Provisions for the crop; or
Special Provisions statement for the county states:
Insurance will not attach to any acreage on which potatoes were planted in each of the four previous crop years.
Our interpretation of section 7(a) identified above (referencing the Special Provisions) is that the crop insured as fresh potatoes must be rotated at least one time every four years so that the insured potato acreage is not planted with potatoes in each of the four previous crop years.
In other words, a grower would have insurable potatoes for the crop year 2012 when the grower also plants their potato crop acreage with potatoes in crop year 2011 and crop year 2010 and crop year 2009, but did not plant potatoes on the subject acreage in crop year 2008.
Crop rotation for potatoes is a well-researched and implemented cultural practice of commercial potato growers in Pennsylvania1. A clear reading of the Special Provisions applying common rules of statutory construction demonstrates that insurance will not attach to any acreage on the fifth crop year of planting, after four consecutive crop years of planting potatoes.
Related provisions contained in § 3 A.2(b) of the Northern Potato Loss Adjustment Manual, refer to the Special Provisions regarding rotation of the crop, but offer no further specificity other than the literal interpretation of the provision.
Final Agency Determination:
The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation agrees with the submitter’s interpretation of the potato rotation requirement. Potatoes can be planted on the same acreage for four consecutive crop years, then must be rotated to other acreage for the fifth crop year before insurance can attach to any subsequent year.
In accordance with 7C.F.R. 400.765(c), this Final Agency Determination is binding on all participants in the Federal crop insurance program for the crop years the policy provisions are in effect. Any appeal of this decision must be in accordance with 7 C.F.R. 400.768(g).
Date of Issue: February 15, 2013
1 Identifying Potato Diseases in Pennsylvania, Penn State University, Barbara J. Christ, Assoc. Prof. Plant Pathology, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences-Discussing Management Control of Potato Diseases Common to Pennsylvania Potatoes.