Producers faced more severe weather conditions in 2022 and significant crop losses are expected in parts of the Midsouth. As many growers begin harvest with the possibility of crop loss – some for the first time in years – we asked a crop insurance expert what they should do this fall to better protect their operations.
Worth Eubanks, a crop insurance specialist at Farm Credit Mid-America, said his first piece of advice to farmers who believe they might lose a crop is to start a conversation with your agent.
“Farmers are responsible for notifying an agent when they lose a seed, so as soon as you think you’ve lost it, reach out to your agent,” Eubanks said.
“Some people don’t realize they are lost until the reaper starts going through the field. Once you realize that, go ahead and discuss this with your crop insurance agent. At that time the agent will open the claim, and this will start the negotiation between the changer and the insurance company. ”
In the Midsouth states, the deadline to submit crop loss complaints is December 10 for corn and soybeans, Dec. 31 for cotton and Oct. 31 for rice. However, most policies state that farmers must notify the agent of the loss within 72 hours to determine the cause of the loss.
“The take home message is communication is key,” Eubanks added. “The more you communicate with your therapist, the better.”
With the loss of identity, keeping agricultural records takes on a whole new meaning. Unfortunately, not keeping records promptly is a common mistake Eubanks has seen during his career in crop insurance.
“Your crop insurance is based on the produce, and you have to insure the produce and where it came from on the farm,” Eubanks said.
Growers often have different levels depending on the type of crop (irrigated or non-irrigated) or practice (full season or double cropping) so having a record of where the produce came from helps make the harvest easier.
Records consist of hard records, such as standard papers from a grain elevator, or bin measurements done by someone else. Soft records, such as yield counters, or grain cart scales, are also acceptable and often help growers manage their harvest area.
“If there’s anything I can emphasize, take a few minutes to write down where your seed came from on the farm. “Regardless of what plan you have, farmers who are prepared have an easier time with the loan process,” Eubanks said.
Always write your records with your farm number or farm name and make sure you have the harvest date.
Losses of more than $200,000 per plant and per district are reviewed. With this year’s challenges, Eubanks hopes that there will be farmers in his area who will meet the budget.
During the review, auditors will review the previous year’s records, according to Eubanks. If the inspectors find any discrepancies, the farmer has to provide documents for the last three years before interest is paid.
Eubanks said: “One of the best pieces of advice I received early in my career was that the person with the most papers wins. “The more information producers can provide about bushels, the better.”
Have you lost? What’s next?
“When we give interest, usually the regulator tells the farmer to keep harvesting and keep the crop,” Eubanks said. But I also have farmers who are thinking of cutting this corn to make silage or straw. The biggest question I get asked is ‘Are you all going to make me harvest this?’
“The short answer is no.” If you are not ready to harvest, we will send someone to test the farm and measure the yield.”
“If the farmer does not agree with that number, and feels that his yield is high, he must harvest the seed to oppose the test and show us what it is,” he said.
“The wrong thinking for a farmer who is going to harvest a crop that may be lost is, ‘It will be as it will be.’ You can make decisions ahead of time from a trading perspective that will help you deal with losses,” Eubanks said.
As one example, Eubanks has worked with growers to promote crop insurance coverage and losses on crops that have already been produced.
“If the current seed prices are higher than what the farmer booked and he knows that he is about to fill the contract, it would be better for him to get out of the contract now, and eliminate the idea that every bush he can harvest will bring more. in the fall, and whatever they collect there will exceed the penalty of the contract,” he said.
“Methods may be different for each farm, and this goes back to good communication. Talk to your crop insurance agent and your lender to find out which marketing method is best for you,” he added.
Preparation of crop insurance
Eubanks added that preparations for next season’s crop insurance have not yet begun.
“The challenges of this season have highlighted where we are at risk in our jobs,” he said. “It might be a good time to review your coverage. There are a lot of options in crop insurance programs now, so you can go where you have the most risk and exposure.”
“Crop insurance is something that most producers only think about once a year, but if you’re just renewing your insurance every year you could be leaving money on the table.
“Planning ahead of time can help you increase your coverage to deal with an accident, but not waste your money on premiums for insurance you don’t use.”