Thursday, July 19, 2012

Guidance for Crop Insurance During the Drought

Much of Pennsylvania is an unwilling participant in the widespread drought that has led to agriculture being a daily national story in the major media outlets. For those farmers who produce crops covered by crop insurance, it may be time to make preparations for submitting a claim. Below is guidance that has been provided by Gene Gants, with the Pensylvania office of USDA-RMA. Maximizing the Benefits of Your Crop Insurance Policy   Your “Summary of Protection” or “Schedule of Insurance” should have arrived within a few weeks of you filed your acreage report. It reflected the information on which your 2012 protection is based.  Compare it to your acreage report to make sure that it is correct.  If there are discrepancies, contact your insurance agent immediately to get it corrected, otherwise it could adversely affect your premium bill and/or claim payment.   Reminder and Guidance on Reporting Damage or Loss:  Crop damage or loss reporting for the insurance policy for most crops requires that written notice be given to your crop insurance agent (by crop by unit (farm)): • Within 72 hours of discovery of damage or loss, • 15 days before harvest begins **, and • Within 15 days after harvesting is completed but not later than 10/20 for corn harvested as silage; 12/10 for grain corn and soybeans. • A pre-harvest appraisal is required for most direct marketed crops • Don’t destroy evidence of damage until a loss adjuster evaluates it!   File timely notice with your county FSA office too, as you may be for some disaster benefits.   **Prior Authorization is Required to Leave Sample Rows for Yield Determination:  If loss adjusting workload does not permit appraising damaged crop acreage before you are ready to start cutting silage, prior authorization must be obtained from your insurance company, through your crop insurance agent, before sample row areas can be left for later yield determination.   For this reason, it’s important that notice of damage be filed with your crop insurance agent as early as you determine that damage occurred so that harvesting is not delayed.     Cutting Damaged Corn for Silage:  If you plan to cut damaged grain type corn for silage, it’s important that the grain content be determined before harvesting regardless of whether you insure on a tonnage or grain yield basis.  If you insured on a grain basis, a loss is determined by comparing the revenue or yield guarantee to the appraised yield (times the October CBOT average price for the December contract for revenue protection).  If you insured and harvest on a tonnage basis and your grain content is significantly below normal (less than 4.5 bushels per ton), the grain content appraisal becomes the basis for quality adjustment which may reduce the amount of silage tonnage that counts against your guarantee.   Additional details are available from a crop insurance agent.

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