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Gleaning Unharvested Crops and Crop Insurance or NAP Coverage

Updated: Jun 29, 2020

Image by Edwin Remsberg. Image shows individual walking in a field with growing crops.

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During the growing season, producers may allow various nonprofits to come on the farm and collect unharvested crops after harvesting. In many cases, it may be not economically profitable to harvest this unharvested portion, or the producer may have had to leave crops unharvested after meeting supply needs for a week. These crops might be left in the field to rot if not for the ability of nonprofits to glean these crops as donations to feed hungry Marylanders. I’ve previously written on liability when allowing gleaners on the farm, to read that post, click here. For those producers who have crop insurance coverage on these crops, is gleaning allowed on insured acres? The Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC) and the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) has requirements that an insured producer should meet before allowing gleaning to take place on their farms.

The federal crop insurance program also encourages you to allow gleaning on your farm. To qualify under crop insurance, the insured producer would need to allow gleaning by a charitable organization listed in the USDA’s A Citizen’s Guide to Food Recovery, for example, the Maryland Food Bank, and receive no compensation for the gleaned crop. Before allowing gleaners to glean a crop covered by crop insurance, the insured producer is encouraged to contact their crop insurance agent first before allowing the charity to glean.

Crop Insurance Requirements for Gleaning

The FCIC only allows gleaning when a charitable organization conducts the gleaning. The charitable organization will need to be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Gleaning by a charitable organization is allowed on insured crop acreage that is unharvested when normal and proper harvesting methods cannot harvest the unharvested portion. For example, unharvested oversized potatoes left by normal harvesting methods. Other unharvested crops might be able to glean when the crop provisions in the crop insurance policy provisions allow for crops not meeting specific standards to not counted as production. For example, peppers or tomatoes not meeting requirements in the crop insurance policy provisions. Before allowing gleaning, check with your crop insurance agent.

Image by Edwin Remsberg. Image shows green tomatoes growing on the vine.

The insured producer can receive no compensation for the gleaned crop from the charitable organization. The insured producer is allowed to receive reimbursement for harvest costs and transportation costs incurred by the insured producer. For example, the insured producer using his labor gleans the remaining insured crop and donates to a local food bank. The food bank could reimburse the insured producer for the costs of labor and transporting the donated crop to the food bank, but could not compensate for the crop itself. If the insured producer receives any compensation for the crop itself, then it will not be considered gleaning for crop insurance purposes. In many cases, an insured producer can receive a tax advantage (under state or federal law) for donating the gleaned crop. The tax advantage (such as a tax deduction or tax credit) will not be considered compensation for the crop and is allowed by RMA.

NAP Requirements for Gleaning

The NAP program also encourages producers to allow gleaning on participant’s farms. Before allowing gleaning though, the producer participating in NAP must contact the county Farm Service Agency (FSA) office to get the approval of a qualified FSA or FCIC loss adjustor to release the acreage. An exception does exist but requires FSA to determine the types of records that the producer or gleaners will be required to keep on the quantity of crops gleaned. Similar to crop insurance, before allowing gleaning on NAP covered acreage it is important to check with the local FSA office for approval first.


Gleaning is a practice that both the crop insurance program and the NAP program seek to encourage. Before allowing it on your covered acreage, always check with the appropriate people beforehand. With crop insurance coverage, check with your crop insurance agent to determine what can be gleaned under the terms of your coverage. With NAP coverage, check with the local FSA office to seek acreage being released or the records that will be accepted to determine the quantity of the crop gleaned.

This material is funded in partnership by USDA, Risk Management Agency, under award number RM17RMETS524021.

Image shows logos for Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Maryland Department of Agriculture, University of Maryland Extension, and USDA-RMA.
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