Crop Insurance: What You Need to Know

July 18, 2012 09:48 AM


Farmers throughout the Corn Belt have one thing on their minds, drought. Ok, maybe two things; drought and crop insurance. In this time of struggle, there are some things farmers can do to make claiming crop insurance a less frustrating experience.

Tom Zacharias, president of National Crop Insurance Services, says farmers need to do three things when they discover loss on insured fields.
1)      Notify your crop insurance agent within 72 hours of the initial discovery damage.
2)      Keep caring for the crop and try to protect it from further damage if possible.
3)      Obtain consent from the insurance company before destroying any of the crop.
"There are other requirements that insureds need to follow that can be found in their specific policy," says Zacharias. "But these three are key for right now."
It is also important that farmers document all of their claims when dealing with insurance. A farmer from Wisconsin included this advice in a Crop Comment this morning "On a side note, any farmer with crop insurance document in writing like in an e-mail you are making a claim," he says. "[If you don’t and] an agent forgets to file your claim you have no proof you filed one, speaking from experience."
Crop insurance is complicated, but the USDA receives questions about it frequently. Check out their FAQ sheet which includes the answers to questions like, "How do I file a claim?" and "Can I cut my corn insured for grain as silage?"


Tough on Livestock

This year’s drought is going to be particularly difficult for livestock producers. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says that livestock producers are likely to suffer the most from drought conditions because there aren’t any programs to help them. "Margins are pretty tight for livestock producers," he says. "Producers will make decisions to reduce herds and minimize impact of the situation."


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