Crop Insurance Today November 2012 - (Page 23)

TODAYcrop insurance Vermont Orchard Depends on Crop Insurance By Dave Ray, North Bridge Communications Whitney Blodgett has been farming in the family’s Vermont apple orchard, commercially known as “Sentinel Pine Orchard,” his whole life. Blodgett says that the family purchased the orchard in 1964, and have since grown, adding the abandoned dairy farm next door. Sentinel Pine Orchard, is comprised of 220 acres of apple trees, mostly planted in the Macintosh variety. When harvest time comes, Blodgett along with his wife and farm hands, store, pack and ship fresh fruit to market. “That is our niche market because we can grow those apples very well in this climate,” he says. Blodgett explains that because of the nature of the business— there aren’t a lot of ways to protect an orchard from the whims of Mother Nature—his chief risk management tool is crop insurance. “We had crop insurance claims in 2004, 2007 and 2011,” he explains. “And all of them were because of hail.” Hail has always been dreaded in the orchard industry because it hits later in the summer, with the coming of the severe summer thunderstorms, and can damage the apples to the point that they’re no longer marketable as fresh fruit. But 2011 was a very different story. The hail hit in the early spring, just as the blossoms had fallen from the fruit and the small apples were beginning to form. “There’s nothing we can do against hail because we can’t build a roof over the whole orchard,” he said. “It was very odd in 2011, the hail hit early in the development of the apples and deformed them,” said Blodgett. “We had to wait and see how they developed and then decided if they would be able to be sold as fresh fruit,” he explains. The other option, if the fruit formed but wasn’t marketable as fresh, was to sell the apples for cider. CROP INSURANCE TODAY® 23

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Crop Insurance Today November 2012

The Song Remains the Same
2012 Farm Bill Debate -- Crop Insurance Takes Center Stage
Step 7: Developing and Testing Transitional Plans
Vermont Orchard Depends on Crop Insurance
Jim Deal Receives Orville L. Freeman Award
Charles "Chuck" Lee Joins NCIS
Drought & Adjuster Education is Video Shoot Focus
1890 Scholarship Recipients
In Memory of Brian J. Laird

Crop Insurance Today November 2012