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Dealing with Crop Insurance in 2021

Posted by Blythe Howell | July 1, 2021

With wheat harvest starting, the crop year 2021 has been one of, if not the most challenging years we’ve experienced here in eastern Washington and across the Pacific Northwest mostly because of a record dry spring, record heat, and let us not forget the multiple frost events this spring. This year has been a learning experience for myself as I have never had to deal with a crop insurance claim until earlier this year when we experienced severe frost damage (May 8th event) in spring canola at the WSU Wilke Research and Extension Farm near Davenport, Washington. The farm decided to take one field to harvest, and the second field was sprayed out after numerous discussions with the crop adjuster and countless walks across the fields. I am still a little unclear on how this is going to turn out on the canola financially. Driving across eastern Washington I am assuming the WSU Wilke Research and Extension Farm is not unique and farmers will have numerous claims in multiple crops across the region.
Frost damage spring wheat at WSU Wilke Farm after a June 5, 2021 event.
Frost damaged spring canola following freezing temperatures on May 8, 2021.
Here are a few key things you need to know moving forward focused on crop insurance:

  • Be patient with the adjusters and your agent. If the damage is as bad as we are anticipating, basically every policy in the Pacific Northwest will have a claim. Everyone is going to be working as hard as they can to complete claims. It’s going to take time.
  • Remember the policy language reads you have 72 hours upon discovery of damage to notify the company. If you know you are going to have a claim be sure to contact your agent to get a claim turned in.

If you have home storage and you have an old crop in the bin be sure to contact your agent to have the old crop measured prior to putting any new crop in the bin.

We will most likely have claims above $200,000. These claims require an APH audit prior to the current year’s claim being settled. You will need hard copy records for the 3 years prior plus the most current year to provide to the adjuster for these audits. If the claim is above $500,000 it’s the same audit that has the $200,000 but RMA has the option of being involved.

Reviewing your crop insurance documents to be sure everything was reported correctly is also key. Fixing a mistake prior to a claim is a lot easier than when the adjuster is working on your claim.


Aaron Esser
For questions or comments, contact Aaron Esser via email at aarons@wsu.edu.

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