Struggling Crops, RMA Monitoring Program

Trigger Crop Insurance Questions

Friday, June 26, 2015                                By Shawn Wade

      Recent weather has adversely impacted a number of areas within the Plains Cotton Growers, Inc. (PCG) service area and the result is an increase in the number of appraisal requests being handled by federal crop insurance providers.

      Heavy claim volume is certainly not a new phenomenon on the Texas High Plains, but this year the seasonal claim activity is creating some additional consternation among growers who are facing a limited window to try to switch from failing cotton to an alternative crop. Compounding the situation is the fact that the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA) also is conducting an Upland cotton monitoring program across 14 High Plains counties that has added some additional steps for approved insurance providers to perform before failed cotton acreage can officially be released for other purposes.

      In order to try and clear up some of the confusion that exists regarding the RMA monitoring program and what producers and approved insurance providers are dealing with, PCG contacted the USDA RMA Compliance office in Dallas, Texas to clarify what, if anything, had changed in the appraisal process as a result of the monitoring effort.

      USDA representatives report that the monitoring program has not imposed any new rule changes on either producers or insurance providers, nor has it restricted any of the options that producers can request in regard to how their claims are handled such as the ability to request and receive permission to leave representative sample areas in the field to allow other field activities to move forward.

      What the monitoring program has done, however, is to add additional steps to the normal claim submission, appraisal and acreage release process to give RMA representatives an opportunity to select a limited number of claims that will be spot-checked to evaluate the accuracy of the appraisal process.

      For the monitoring program, each company has been asked, at the end of the business day, to submit to RMA a list of claims worked. This submission and review process adds at least one day to the normal release timetable for failed acreage for all claim submissions. Claims that are not submitted by the daily deadline are carried over and considered as part of the next day's submission.

      Once RMA has each day's submissions, they select locations that will be spot-checked and notify the company which claims can be released the following day. For the claims selected for spot-check, RMA has a self-imposed goal to have the verification process completed within 48 hours.

      Due to the work associated with performing the appraisal and marking field locations to allow for a possible spot-check to be performed in the exact same locations in the field, there has been an increase in the time necessary to complete requested appraisals. In addition, the timing of several weather events in some locations has also pushed appraisals back due to requirements of the loss adjustment process, especially when a hail event is involved.

      Every effort is being made to address claims in a timely manner and growers are reminded that they still have the ability to request the full range of options allowed by the loss adjustment procedures, including asking for permission to leave representative sample areas within a field in order to allow for timely alternative field operations.

      RMA has also noted that even when a claim has been selected for a review, growers can contact their approved insurance provider and request permission to use the representative sample procedure to instigate field activity as long as the delineated appraisal locations are preserved until the spot-check has been performed.

      For more information about the options available to expedite the process, producers are encouraged to contact their approved insurance provider.


Don't Forget!

Cotton Incorporated 2015 Natural Resource

Survey Deadline is June 30


July 15 Acreage Reporting & Certification Deadline

Approaching for FSA, RMA Programs

Friday, June 26, 2015                                By Shawn Wade

      Cotton producers are reminded that two critical acreage reporting deadlines for cotton and other spring-planted crops are approaching quickly.

      July 15 is the date that producers should circle on their calendars because both the USDA Farm Service Agency and the USDA Risk Management Agency utilize this date to gather pertinent planted acreage data for the current growing season.

      For FSA, July 15 is the acreage certification date, and RMA requires input of the same information for their acreage reporting requirement.    Farm acreage reports submitted to FSA and to federal crop insurance providers must match, according to current regulations.

      "Producers should take the time to provide this information by the July 15 deadline and also to ensure that the information is accurate," PCG Executive Vice President Steve Verett said, noting that any discrepancies could adversely affect future processes, such as a late-season crop loss.

      For more information, please contact your county FSA Service Center or your approved insurance provider.


PCG Board to Meet July 8

      The PCG Board of Directors will meet at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 8, in the Plains Cotton Growers Conference Center at the Bayer Museum of Agriculture, 1121 Canyon Lake Drive in Lubbock.