Friday, July 27, 2012
I met this morning with our crop insurance agent, Lee Tuggle of McCormick Insurance in Vincennes. I wanted to refresh my understanding of the claims process and get a feel for how to be fully prepared for what the crop insurance company will require from me. I was anticipating the claims process with a bit of dread, thinking of how complicated it was going to be, and viewing the whole thing like it was tangled together like a bowl of spaghetti. Maybe my slight fears were unwarranted. It will be a lot of paperwork, but not much more than reporting the yields in a normal, non-claim year. We went over the processes and procedures of the harvest claims for this fall. He gave me a chart that shows the guarantees, based on the history of production for each “unit”. A unit is made up of contiguous fields, in a specific area. Our farm is made up of fields scattered over 3 townships in Knox County. For crop insurance purposes, it has 20 separate units. As the harvest is gathered in, yields for each crop in each unit will be totaled, and compared to the guraranteed level. If the 2012 yield falls below 70% of that level, (I expect that every crop in every unit will qualify this year) we will submit a claim for that unit. Our crop insurance is also ‘revenue based’, so commodity prices are also a factor in determining the amount of the claim. The price for the corn and soybeans was determined last December, but if the price determined in December 2012 is higher, we will automatically receive an adjustment to our claim, reflecting the increased value.
Crop yields will also have to be reported to the Farm Service Agency, but there the information is segregated by ‘tract’. Each field is assigned by FSA to a tract number, and groups of tracts are assigned to specific farm numbers. We have seven farm numbers, and each one of them has one to eleven tracts. I have designed a spreadsheet that helps me allocate the yields from each field… by tract for FSA, and by unit for crop insurance. It was tedious to set up, but I certainly appreciate its value when compiling the information!
We received .04 inches (1mm) of rain during the night. It does not seem to show any evidence of that rain this afternoon.
John and Philip are servicing the trucks in preparation for fall harvest time. The engine oil and filters will be changed, and the chassis lubricated. It is cooler today, only 88F, so it is not so distressing to be in the shop doing this work. While Pat and I were on our US 50 ‘quest’, John and Philip sprayed every acre of soybeans for a new pest, spider mites. This arachnid is new to us this year, and suppposedly is promoted by the severe hot and dry weather we are experiencing. John discovered the spider mites on one of his many scouting trips to the fields. I guess we learn something new all the time.
My friend, Sylvan Ice, a neighbor and excellent farmer, told me last evening that he expects he will begin some harvesting in two weeks. That sounds terribly early to me, but he added, “It’s not very pretty out there.” I hope our combines will be gathering in some grain, and not be just an expensive mowing machine. I’m sure we will have areas in fields that will have no grain, but I’m also hopeful that we will not have to abandon whole fields. In a conversation today with Ross, we are not very optimistic about the yields this year, but it is difficult to accurately predict the production until we actually take the combines to the field. According to Sylvan, that will be sooner than I thought. My estimate was a starting time somewhere around Labor Day. We’ll know more as the days go by…