We recently received updated information telling us that USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has provided additional guidance governing potential crop insurance claims due to smoke taint:
RMA Clarifies Smoke Taint Standard
Previously, RMA utilized 24.8 micrograms of Guaiacol and 4-Methylguaiacol per liter as the threshold for smoke taint damage claims. Due to the extenuating circumstances of the recent fires, RMA clarified their stance that an “elevated level” is one that may cause a winery to reject the fruit or reduce the price paid per ton as grounds for a potential claim.
To make a claim, a grower needs a letter from the winery, on their letterhead, stating the reason for rejection (i.e., unacceptable high levels of smoke taint compounds, raisining, etc…) or a specific price reduction related to quality defects.
It’s important that growers collect a sample of 200 berries per varietal/unit from the vineyard location and submit that sample for independent testing. The test results are not required before harvest, but the sample must be collected prior to harvest and timely submitted to a lab.
We want to underscore the importance of talking to your crop insurance agent about the potential for a claim.
When in doubt, call your agent right away!
Please do not hesitate in contacting the CAWG office with additional questions or concerns, (916) 379-8995.