JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Many of the levee breaches from 2019 floodwaters remain. For many farmers, this is gut-wrenching for a several reasons. Farmland remains unprotected from potential flooding that could occur this spring and summer. Additionally, increased crop insurance premium rates will be applied to these exposed tracts of land. The Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) is staying active in pushing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) to repair these levee breaches as quickly as possible. Simultaneously, MCGA is working with the Risk Management Agency (RMA) to provide as much flexibility as possible with regards to crop insurance going into the 2020 growing season.
A common concern among growers is how farmlands will be assessed for breaches on private levees. According to RMA, either the Corps or a licensed/registered engineer must sign off on levee repairs. The concern has been raised on the difficulty in finding affordable third-party engineers. MCGA and others reached out to the Missouri Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for assistance. Last week, NRCS provided instructions to field offices to take and schedule requests for breached levee repair certification for levees not enrolled in a Corps program. If this scenario sounds familiar, be sure to work with your crop insurance agent and local NRCS office to ensure levee rehabilitation is certified and applicable premium rates are assigned.
RMA has been saying the premium rates for farmland behind broken levees will be set on the latter of the sales closing date or the earliest plant date. Should any levees be semi- or fully repaired before this deadline, the crop insurance premium rates will be adjusted to reflect the new levels of risk. However, RMA is now saying there will be even more flexibility, by affirming if any repairs are done after the stated deadlines, but before a crop is planted, then the premium rates can be adjusted to reflect the new levels of risk. This means the hard deadline for any levee repairs is when a farmer actually plants a crop. Growers need to be in contact with their crop insurance agent. Should they need this extra time to repair levee breaches, they need to be utilizing what RMA is referring to as the “Blanket Written Agreement.” This document is what enables this flexibility regarding levee rehabilitation and crop insurance premiums.
— Missouri Corn Growers Association
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