Do not tear up dying crops without taking proper measures

By Matt Reese

The dry conditions are hurting crops.

There are some pockets of farmland around the state that have gotten very little rain and crops are withering in the heat. With little relief in sight for the situation of rapidly deteriorating crop condition, some farmers are considering tearing their crops out.

“The people tearing up crops are not widespread at this point. It is in isolated situations where it was planted into dry dirt and hasn’t come up,” said Greg Owens, with Williamson Insurance Agency. “There hasn’t been enough precipitation to justifiy tearing up corn and replanting beans. Guys do not want to look at these tough fields of corn for the rest of the summer, but at this point financially it may actually be their option to let the crop grow to maturity. In these isolated instances farmers should turn in a claim and meet with their adjuster to determine their best options in these tougher fields. We’ve had a hand full of calls from Paulding and surrounding counties. I’ve had calls from Indiana and up in Defiance as well about this. We’ve even had calls on soybean fields where the plants are dying.”

It is very important to note that destroying a field without taking the proper measures by getting consent from the crop insurance company could forfeit the right to an indemnity.

“The first thing to do is contact your agent and get a notice of loss turned in and meet with an adjuster to discuss the options,” Owens said. “You need to meet with an adjuster and work through the different options. For instance if a farmer wants to plant a forage, provided we get rain later in the season, to sell to a dairy, the adjuster may ask them to leave strips to take to maturity to get a more accurate yield. This allows the adjuster to appraise something later on in the season as opposed to tearing up the whole field and making an estimate based on what is in the field today.”

Waiting to tear up fields can improve the adjuster’s accuracy.

“The corn hasn’t been through pollination and the beans haven’t gone through pod set, so when adjusters appraise fields, they are working on stand counts,” Owens said. “When we go with stand counts, we can come up with a lot higher yield than what the field will actually be once it gets through pollination if the weather continues the way it is going right now. If you are considering this, the longer you wait, the more accurate the adjuster can be. If you have 25,000 plants out there in the field today, the yield might be ‘x,’ but once we get through pollination, you can get a better idea of what is happening. Stand counts will probably make the estimated yield higher than what the real potential of the field will be after pollination.”

Farmers need to submit their acreage report to their crop insurance agent prior to July 15.

Steve Maurer, State Executive Director for Ohio’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), reminded farmers that failed acreage must also be reported to FSA before destroying and replanting to allow time for a field check.

“It is very important that farmers report failed acreage that will not be brought to harvest to the FSA office prior to destruction,” Maurer said. “This simple act of insuring that failed acres are documented could be the determining factor in whether or not a farmer is eligible for future crop disaster program payments.”

For crop losses covered by the Non-insured Assistance Program (NAP), producers must contact their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. Although low yield acreage does not need to be reported to FSA, producers are encouraged to keep good production records on acreage with a low crop yield to document crop losses. Reporting failed acreage to FSA will ensure compliance with current farm programs, and possible eligibility for future disaster programs.

Additional information in regard to failed crop acreage or crop losses covered by the Non-Insured Assistance Program (NAP) can be obtained by contacting the local FSA office. FSA program information is also available online at: www.fsa.usda.gov. 

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