June 22, 2017
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Expansion of Crop Insurance Coverage for Malting Barley

TOP Governor Cuomo Announces Expansion of Crop...

USDA's Federal Crop Insurance Program Available to Growers in 44 Counties in 2018

Expands Opportunities for Small Grain Farmers and Supports the Growing Craft Beverage Industry in New York State 

Follows Governor's 2014 Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit to Engage USDA on Crop Insurance Expansion


Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that more farmers in additional counties across New York State will now be able to purchase crop insurance for malting barley, expanding opportunities for small grain farmers and supporting New York’s thriving craft beverage industry. The United States Department of Agriculture’s program will now expand coverage options to growers in 44 counties in New York State starting in 2018. The expansion follows the state’s Wine, Beer, Spirits and Cider Summit in 2014 where Governor Cuomo announced the state would initiate a dialogue with the USDA to provide crop insurance for malting barley growers across New York. 

"By providing a safety net for more malt barley producers, we are providing New York farmers with the ability to diversify what they grow, while helping to meet the demand of this state’s booming craft beverage industry," said Governor Cuomo said. "Make no mistake: this is a win-win that helps our agricultural sector help new craft breweries, wineries and distilleries in every corner of the state, creating jobs and spurring economic activity in the process."

Currently, crop insurance for malting barley is available in four counties: Cortland, Genesee, Ontario and Otsego. Following the call from both New York State and federal leaders to increase the coverage area for small grain crop growers, including malting barley, the USDA’s Malting Barley Contract Option will be expanded to forty additional counties in Upstate for the 2018 growing season. It will cover losses of crop due to natural events such as adverse weather conditions, insect damage and plant disease, and will help mitigate the risk farmers take in planting this relatively new crop in New York State.

Malting barley is a primary ingredient in the production of beer and some spirits. With New York’s continued growth in the craft beverage industry, the state has seen an increased demand for New York-grown malting barley. The Farm Brewery license, created in 2012, and the Farm Distillery license, created in 2007, require farm-based beverage producers to use a certain percentage of local ingredients. Currently, 20 percent of the ingredients used in the production of beer in New York must be grown in the state; the percentage increases to 90 percent by 2024. Farm Distillers are required to use 75 percent New York grown ingredients.

Expanded crop insurance coverage for malting barley builds on the state’s efforts to boost the agricultural and craft beverage industry through several research initiatives. Since 2015, the Genesee Valley Regional Market Authority, through the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, has provided nearly $600,000 to the New York State Agricultural Experimental Station in Geneva to further research malting barley and identify new varieties and cultivars that are better suited for New York’s growing conditions.

More information on malting barley crop insurance can be found on the USDA’s website.

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "I’m pleased to see that crop insurance has been expanded to include more grower areas. This is a great result for the farmers who might be interested in growing the crop to supplement the state’s booming craft beverage industry but have not been able to take on the risk of growing a nascent crop. This will help encourage growers to produce more small grains for New York’s breweries and distilleries statewide."

David Fisher, New York Farm Bureau President said, "This is good news for the growing number of malting barley growers across New York. The demand for the product from craft and farm breweries is climbing right alongside consumer demand for local beer. Today’s announcement will work to minimize the risk for farmers choosing to diversify their operations to support a booming agricultural sector. New York Farm Bureau appreciates the work of Governor Cuomo and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand to secure the additional crop insurance coverage."

Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, New York is now home to nearly 650 farm wineries, breweries, distilleries and cideries. The number of farm-based craft beverage producers more than tripled since 2011, from 205 to 647 manufacturers. The number of farm distilleries grew from just 10 in 2010 to 115 today, while 166 businesses have obtained farm brewery licenses since the law went into effect on January 1, 2013. The state continues to drive the craft beverage industry forward. By passing major pieces of legislation, launching aggressive promotional campaigns, and implementing considerable regulatory reforms, this sector of the economy has become a major driver of job creation and economic development in communities across the state.

Contact the Governor's Press Office