Farm Bill Updates: USDA Risk Management Agency

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, several important updates were made to crop insurance programs administered by the USDA. Let’s take a brief look at how the Farm Bill has affected Risk Management Agency programs and regulations.

Potentially, the most important of these updates is expanding the definition of beginning farmer from five to ten years for the Whole Farm Revenue Program. This change brings RMA in line with other USDA agencies in treating new and beginning farmers as anyone with ten years or less experience. We’ll have more about the Whole Farm Revenue Program and why it holds so much promise for young farmers, highly diversified farmers, and farmers serving direct markets — categories which often have extensive overlap.

In addition, the USDA has been charged to create state-level beginning farmer and rancher categories across the country. We’re lucky in Georgia to have had a regional beginning farmer on the ground since 2016. Rodney Brooks of the USDA Farms Service Agency is an invaluable resource for new and beginning farmers looking into finance their farmland purchases and operational expenses through the USDA.

He can be reached at

For producers interested in tracking all of the changes instituted by the Farm Bill, RMA has created a handy guide.