Crop Revenue Insurance Proceeds – Price Loss versus Yield Loss

Contributed by Charles BrownFarm Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, crbrown@iastate.edu, 641-673-5841

With the drought and floods in 2018, there has been some discussion on the income tax treatment of crop insurance proceeds. Some people may have sold the 2017 crop in 2018 and are concerned about the doubling of income if they also received their crop insurance payments in 2018 as well. It is possible to defer the crop insurance to the year following harvest, but certain criteria have to be met.

A cash method farmer may elect to postpone reporting insurance proceeds on damaged crops from the year of damage to the following year if 50% or more of the crop is normally sold the year following production. This is determined on a crop-by-crop basis. This is done by making the election IRC Sec. 451(d); Reg. 1.451-6 on the tax return for the year of loss. A statement must be attached to the tax return and include the following:

  1. This election is made under IRC Sec. 451 (d) and Reg. 1.451-6.
  2. Identification of the specific crop or crops destroyed or damaged.
  3. A statement that under normal conditions the crop would have been sold the following year.
  4. Identification of the cause of destruction or damage and the dates it occurred.
  5. The amount of payment received and the date each payment was received for each crop.
  6. The name of the insurance carrier or payer from whom the amounts were received.

If you defer insurance for one crop you must do it for all crops that insurance money was received for. This would include any disaster money received from USDA. Crop revenue insurance guarantees a certain level of income based on yield and price. Sec. 451(d) allows the deferral of crop insurance proceeds “received as a result of destruction or damage to crops” or the inability to plant crops because of a natural disaster. IRS has previously ruled that insurance programs that provide payments without regard to actual losses fall outside the statutory definition of destruction of damage to crops. Therefore crop revenue insurance proceeds would not be eligible for deferral. However, if you can prove a portion of the insurance proceeds was the direct result of crop damage due to hail, flooding, drought or some other destruction, or some portion of the proceeds was the result of damage, then that portion of the insurance proceeds should be allowed for the deferral election. The portion of the proceeds that was related to price would have to be reported as income in the year received. This year, 2018, it is possible that the harvest price could be lower than the spring price and a portion of the insurance proceeds will be because of price loss. Please contact your tax professional for consultation on specific questions for your farm.

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Crop Insurance Coverage Frequently Asked Questions in Times of Drought or Floods

Contributed by Charles BrownFarm Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, crbrown@iastate.edu, 641-673-5841

In 2018, again some Iowa farmers are suffering the extremes of drought in the Southeast and floods in the North and Northeast. Both losses due to drought and flooding are an insurable loss under multi-peril crop insurance. Another dynamic added to the mix this year is yield loss due to chemical drift or misapplication, which is not a covered loss under multi-peril crop insurance. Especially in Southeast Iowa, due to drought conditions, again there will be claims for losses on corn and soybeans.

Important Point: Do not destroy a crop, comingle grain from previous years or different owners or harvest for silage before contacting your insurance agent. Bins must be measured before comingling grain. When in doubt call your agent.

Question: How many of Iowa’s corn and soybean acres are covered by crop insurance?

Iowa farmers planted 23.2 million acres of corn and soybeans in 2018. Approximately 90% of those acres have been insured using Revenue Protection (RP) multi-peril crop insurance. These insurance policies can guarantee various levels of a percentage of the farm’s average yield times the higher of the projected price (average futures price in the month of February) or the harvest price (average futures price during the month of October), using the November 2018 futures contract for soybeans and the December 2018 futures contract for corn. Most farm operators carry a guarantee of their APH from 65% to 85% level of coverage. The projected prices (futures average prices in February 2018) were $3.96/bu for corn and $10.16/bu for soybeans, respectively.

Question: What should an insured farmer do once a crop loss is recognized?

  1. Notify the insurance agent within 72 hours of the discovery of damage, but not later than 15 days after the end of the insurance period. A notice of loss can be made by phone, in writing or in person. Although drought loss is not immediate, farmers should contact their agent as soon as they feel a loss is present.
  2. Continue to care for the crop using “good farming practices” and protect it from further damage, if possible.
  3. Get permission from the insurance company, also referred to as your Approved Insurance Provider (AIP), before destroying or putting any crop to an alternative use.

Question: Who will appraise the crops and assess the loss?

The crop insurance company will assign a crop insurance adjuster to appraise the crop and assess the loss. The insured farmer must maintain the crop until the appraisal is complete. If the company cannot make an accurate appraisal, or the farmer disagrees with the appraisal, the company can have the farmer leave representative sample areas.

These representative sample areas of the crop are to be maintained – including normal spraying if economically justified – until the company conducts a final inspection. Failure to maintain the representative sample areas could result in a determination that the cause of loss is not covered. Therefore no claims payment to the producer.

Once appraised the crop can be released by the company to be:

  1. Destroyed – through tillage, shredding or chemical means; or
  2. Used as silage or feed.

Question: Once released, may I harvest my corn as silage for feed?

Check with your crop insurance company. In a county where corn can be insured as grain only, the corn will be released, or harvested as silage and/or sold as feed. Any grain will be counted as production for your claim. In a county where corn can be insured as silage, the harvested silage will be counted as production.

Question: What is the difference among insurance units?

Many farmers have chosen to insure their crops using enterprise units in order to pay less expensive insurance premiums. Under enterprise units, losses are calculated by crop by county. Therefore all the corn planted by a farmer is a given county would be added together to determine a loss. If a farmer has chosen optional units, then losses are calculated by crop by field unit. Premiums are typically higher if choosing optional units, but a good yield on one field does not cancel out the loss on another field.

Question: When will farmers be receiving indemnity payments for their crop insurance losses?

Adjusters will be busy with the increase in losses in Southeast Iowa. As soon as you are finished harvesting notify your insurance agent and an adjuster will be assigned to you. Insurance companies cannot defer payments to the next tax year, but claims adjusted late in the year may not be paid out until the following year.

Question: What is the maximum price that the harvest time indemnity price (average October futures price) can reach?

The maximum harvest indemnity price values for 2018 are twice of the projected price; or $7.92/bu for corn and $20.32/bu for soybeans, respectively.

Question: Can indemnity payments for drought be deferred for income tax purposes until 2019?

A taxpayer using the cash method of accounting claims the income in the year they receive the payment. The insurance company will send the insured a 1099 showing the amount and tax year to report the income.

A farmer, if they are using the cash method of accounting for reporting taxes, can elect to defer crop insurance payments if the loss is due to yield loss and they normally sell more than 50% of their crop the year following harvest. They cannot defer any loss that is due to price loss. Farmers that are using the accrual method of accounting for reporting taxes cannot defer crop insurance payments.

Question: Will I be asked to provide proof of my bushels this year for crop insurance verification?

All multiple peril crop insurance users are subject to production verification on a random basis. If a claim that exceeds $200,000 is filed for an individual crop and policy, verification of production is automatically required by regulation. This also requires a 3 year audit.

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Heavy rains have saturated fields, forcing producers to make tough decisions

Contributed by Steve JohnsonFarm Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension, sdjohns@iastate.edu, 515-957-5790

Farmers should have kept accurate records of planting dates this spring. Write down the dates you planted that crop, number of acres and reference the farm name or number. “Good planting records are key for crop insurance coverage purposes and for completing the annual USDA’s Farm Service Agency acreage report prior to July 15,” notes Johnson.

Q: What should a producer do if his/her planted crops are affected by flooding, wind or hail?

A: Notify your crop insurance agent or insurance carrier within 72 hours of the loss. The agent’s company will assign a crop insurance adjuster that will work directly with the insured.

Q: Can I destroy the damaged crop and prepare to replant.

A: It is important not to destroy a field with crop damage until an adjuster has approved/released the field for other cropping or potential tillage practices. Listen carefully and document the adjuster’s recommendations. Work with your crop insurance agent regarding potential indemnity payments and continue “good farming practices” as required to maintain crop insurance coverage.

flooded fieldQ: What if the field remains underwater for an extended period of time?

A: If your field is under water for an extended period of time let your agent know.  The agent can help file a notice of damage and have the insurance company take a closer look.

Q: Isn’t there a 20-20 rule for crop insurance coverage?

A: Yes, to qualify for an indemnity payment under the replanted, delayed or prevented planting provisions, a minimum area of 20 acres or 20% of the insured unit, whichever is smaller, must be affected.

A unit could be a field or a farm – if you elected an optional whole farm or basic unit. An enterprise unit could also have been elected, which reflects all the corn acres or all the soybean acres grouped together in a particular county.

Q: I chose enterprise units to save on premium. Can I now change to basic or optional units because flooding has damaged my planted crop acreage on a few fields?

A: Because unit structure impacts the premium cost, and in the case of enterprise units, also the premium subsidy, the policyholder’s decision to elect enterprise units is made no later than the sales closing date to reflect the binding contractual agreement between the two parties on or before March 15, 2018.

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Prevented Planting FAQ for 2018

Steve Johnson photoWright, GaryReviewed by Gary Wright, Extension Farm Management Field Specialist, gdwright@iastate.edu

Originally Contributed by Steve Johnson, Extension Farm Management Field Specialist

Question: When is prevented planting available?

Answer: Prevented planting must be due to an insured cause of loss that is general in the surrounding area and that prevents other producers from planting acreage with similar characteristics. Failure to plant when other producers in the area were planting will result in denial of the prevented planting claim.

There’s also the 20/20 Rule–a minimum of 20 acres or 20% of the unit must be affected. Total acres of planted and prevented planted cannot exceed the total cropland acres. Prevented planting claims must be filed with your crop insurance agent by June 28 for corn and July 13 for soybeans. Prevented planting acres must be reported on the FSA Form 578 acreage report. That deadline in Iowa is July 15, 2018.

Question: When is prevented planting not available?

Answer: On ground that is insured through a New Breaking Written Agreement; Conservation Program Reserve land—first year out of CRP; on ground where a pasture or forage crop is in place during the time of planting; when other producers in the area are able to plant; on county-based crop insurance area policies—such as AYP & ARPI.

Question: How much do I get paid for prevented planting?

Answer: 55% of the initial revenue guarantee on corn and 60% on soybeans.

  • For corn, an example of how it’s figured: 190 bushels APH x 80% x $3.96/bu = $602 initial revenue guarantee  x 55% = $331/acre PP payment
  • For soybeans, an example is 55 bushels APH x 80% x $10.16/bu = $447 initial revenue guarantee x 60% = $268/acre PP payment
  • Note that payments for prevented planting use the projected price (new crop futures price average in February).

Question: How are eligible acres for prevented planting determined?

Answer: The insurance company considers each of the insured’s crops in each county. They look at the maximum number of acres reported for insurance and certified in any of the four most recent crop years. The acres must have been planted in one of the last three crop years.

What happens if you are prevented from planting and there are not enough eligible acres for the crop being claimed? When the insured runs out of acreage eligibility for one crop, the remaining prevented planting acres will be “rolled” to another crop, such as corn to soybeans.

Question: What happens to my APH—actual production history– if I take prevented planting?

Answer: The insured farmer who receives prevented planting on a crop does not have to report the actual yield for the year. Generally, prevented planting will not impact the APH yield in future years, unless a second crop is planted on prevented planting acres.

Question: What happens if the first crop is prevented planting, but the second crop is planted?

Answer: If the second crop is planted it MUST be insured if there was insurance for that crop elected on or before March 15, 2018. The second crop must have been planted AFTER June 25 for corn and July 10 for soybeans. If the insured farmer plants a second crop they will still receive 35% of the indemnity for the prevented planting crop and pay only 35% of the premium.

Planting a second crop on prevented planting ground affects the following year’s APH:

  • 1st Crop – you get 60% of the approved yield (190 bu/A APH X 60% = 114 bu/A)
  • 2nd Crop – actual yields are used for APH

Question: What will crop insurance adjusters need to do for prevented planting claims?

Answer: Visually inspect all prevented planting acres to determine:

  • Acres are within 5% of what was on the acreage report
  • Whether the acres are left idle, or whether a cover crop or second crop has been planted
  • What the cause of loss was, and if it is general in the area
  • Determine eligible acres
  • Roll acres to other crops if insured is short of eligible acres for reported prevented planting crop

Question: What are the deadlines for filing prevented planting in Iowa?

Answer: These dates vary by state, but tend to be 3 days after the last day of the late planting period.

  • The deadline for filing prevented planting with your crop insurance agent is June 28 for corn and July 13 for soybeans
  • Acreage reporting deadline is July 16th. (This date is usually July 15th but this year the date falls on a Sunday)
  • Prevented planting acres listed on your acreage report (FSA Form 578) should match the information provided your crop insurance agent in order to qualify for a full indemnity payment
  • Work with your crop insurance agent well in advance of these dates regarding a prevented planting claim and whether a cover crop or a 2nd crop will be planted.

Question: To qualify for enterprise units on my crop insurance policy, I have to have at least the smaller of 20 acres or 20% of my planted acres in two or more different township sections.  If I have to leave some of my acres unplanted (prevented planting), will they still count toward my eligibility for enterprise units?

Answer: Only planted acres are considered when determining eligibility for enterprise units.  For example, a farm with 200 acres each in two sections would normally qualify for enterprise units. However, if fewer than 20 acres are planted in one of the sections, the farm would no longer qualify.  Possible increases in crop insurance premiums due to a change in unit designation should be considered when deciding whether or not to file for a prevented planting claim on some acres.

Question: If I take prevented planting on some of my fields and plant a cover crop, when can I harvest or graze the cover crop?

Answer: If you plant any kind of cover crop and expect to receive a crop insurance indemnity payment for prevented planting, you cannot harvest or graze those acres until after November 1.

ISU Extension Resources

More details can be found in the publication “Delayed and Prevented Planting Provisions” on the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Ag Decision Maker website. An electronic decision spreadsheet is also available to help analyze alternative actions. Producers should communicate with their crop insurance agent before making decisions about replanting or abandoning acres.

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Pricing drought damaged silage

Contributed by William Edwards, extension economist

Corn that has suffered severe drought damage is sometimes harvested as silage instead of as grain. It can still have significant feed value if harvested at the right stage. See the article “Alternatives for Drought-damaged Corn—Grain Crop or Forage” for harvesting recommendations. Any damaged acres that are covered by crop insurance should be viewed by an adjuster and released by the insurance company before harvesting takes place.

Grain producers may be willing to sell to the corn standing in the field, to be harvested by the livestock producer or a custom operator. The buyer and the seller must agree on a selling price.  The seller would need to receive a price that would give at least as good a return as could be received from harvesting the corn as grain. The buyer would need to pay a price that would not exceed the feeding value of the corn.  Within that range the price can be negotiated.

One ton of normal, mature standing corn silage at 60% to 70% moisture can be valued at about 10 times the price of a bushel of corn. For a $3.50 corn price, a ton of silage would be worth about $35 per ton. However, drought stressed corn may have only 5 bushels of grain per ton of silage instead of the normal 6 to 7 bushels. A value of about 9 times the price of corn would more appropriate. For silage with little grain content, a factor of 8 times the price of corn can be used.

If the crop is sold after being harvested and transported, those costs must be added to that value, typically $5 to $10 per ton, depending on whether it is done by a custom operator or the buyer, and the distance it is hauled. A buyer would only consider the variable costs for harvesting and hauling, whereas a custom operator would need to recover fixed costs, as well.

More information on valuing forage in the field, including an electronic spreadsheet for estimating a value for corn silage, for both the buyer and the seller, is available from Ag Decision Maker.

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Flood damaged crops, crop insurance payments, and lease contracts

William Edwards, retired extension economist, on issues from flooding regarding crop insurance, rented acres and looking ahead to 2017.

edwardswm_finalSome Iowa corn and soybean producers are facing substantial if not complete crop losses due to flooding. Fortunately, nearly 90 percent of Iowa’s corn and soybean acres are protected by Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI).

Crop insurance

Most Iowa producers purchase crop insurance policies with a 75 to 85 percent level of coverage. This means that if crops are a total loss, the producer must withstand the first 15 to 25 percent of the loss. However, in 2016 nearly 90 percent of the crop acres insured in Iowa were covered under Revenue Protection policies, which offer an increasing guarantee if prices increase between February and October. So far, this has added about $.80 per bushel to soybean guarantees, while the current corn futures price is actually below the February average. Moreover, since Revenue Protection (RP) policies are settled at the average nearby futures price during the month of October, rather than local cash prices, farmers receive a bonus equal to the fall grain basis in their area.

Producers with crops that have been totally destroyed by flooding will not have to incur the variable costs of harvesting. This could save around $20 per acre for soybeans and perhaps $50 per acre for corn, depending on potential yields and drying costs. Nevertheless, even producers who carried insurance at a high coverage level could be looking at net revenues near or below those obtained from normal yields this year.

2016 flooded bean field

Potential losses

For example, assume an insured tract has an expected corn yield and insurance proven yield of 175 bushels per acre. A normal crop marketed at $3.00 per bushel would bring $525 per acre. The insurance indemnity payment for an 80 percent RP guarantee, zero yield, and a February futures price of $3.86 would equal 175 bu. x $3.86 x 80% = $540. Saving $50 in harvest costs would give an equivalent of $590 per acre, or $65 above the value of a normal crop.

For soybeans, assume both the expected yield and the proven yield are 60 bushels per acre, and the crop could be marketed at $9.00 per bushel. Gross income for a normal crop would be $540 per acre. The insurance payment for a complete crop failure and a $9.65 October futures price would be 60 bu. x $9.65 x 80% = $463. Savings of $20 in harvesting costs brings the equivalent of $483 per acre, or $57 below the value of a normal crop.

In many cases, of course, flooded acres will make up only a portion of the insured unit, so production from non-flooded acres will be averaged in with the zero yields from the flooded acres.

The real question is how much will it cost to clean up fields and bring them back into production next year? Most Iowa farmers have not had experience with fields being under water for extended periods of time, so effects are difficult to estimate. Problems will range from physically removing debris to leveling eroded areas to restoring fertility.

Flooded field, 2016

Rental contracts

What do these questions imply for rental contracts? A great deal of uncertainty, for one thing. Lease agreements in Iowa continue in effect for another year under the same terms if they were not terminated on or before September 1.

Landowners will have to bear the burden of mitigating flood damages – that goes with owning property. But, a better solution may be for renters and owners to work together to repair the damage and bring the land back into production. Farm operators may have access to machinery that can help accomplish the job that owners do not. In return, tenants should be compensated for their efforts, either directly, through a significant discount on the 2017 rent, or with a long-term lease.

Next year

In some cases there may be doubt as to whether land flooded this year can even be planted next year. Risk Management Agency rules state that land must be physically available for planting to be insurable. Land that cannot be planted due to weather events that occurred before the sales closing date (March 15 in Iowa) is not eligible for prevented planting payments. When operators report their 2016 production, they can request that their 2016 yield histories reflect a value equal to 60 percent of the county “T-yield” rather than a zero or very low yield.

Close communication and cooperation between owners, crop insurance agents and renters can be a “win-win” strategy in the long run, but recovery may take several years.

Additional information about managing flood damaged cropland will be available from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as the waters recede and the situation is assessed. Keep in mind, dealing with issues from flooding can be stressful. Reach out to resources such as the Iowa Concern Hotline, with trained staff who are available to listen.

Iowa Concern –All calls, chats, and emails are free and confidential. Language interpretation available.

  • 24/7 Phone Support – Trained staff take your calls via a toll-free hotline at 1-800-447-1985.
  • Live Chat Services – Live chat for online, one-on-one support.
  • Email an Expert – Send your questions related to legal issues, finance, stress and crisis or disaster to our staff.

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2014 Farm Bill: Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program

Contributed by Kristen SchulteFarm Business Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, kschulte@iastate.edu, 563-547-3001

schultek_finalThe 2014 Farm Bill extended the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP), and the program expanded its coverage by allowing producers to purchase additional coverage. Producers have the opportunity to make this change for policies set for the 2015 crop year until January 15th, 2015.

What does NAP cover?

  • Crops (not livestock) that are commercially produced for food and fiber for which catastrophic coverage under Federal Crop Insurance is not available.
  • Losses due to damaging weather (drought, hurricane, freeze, etc.), adverse natural occurrences (volcanic eruption, flood, etc), and other adverse natural occurrences (ex. excessive heat, insect infestation, ect.).

Signing up for NAP?

  • Producers must apply by application closing date; application is completed with form CCC-471. Application closing dates may vary by crop.
  • To be eligible for NAP, producers must report crop type and variety, location of acres, producers and related shares of crop, growing practice, crop planting date, and intended use of crop commodity. After planting or harvest, producers must also report acres planted, quantity of harvest, and disposition of crop. Production records may be required by FSA.
  • Application must also include service fee. Service fee is $250 per crop or $750 per producer per administrative county. Premiums are also due if electing buy-up coverage.
  • Beginning, limited resource, and traditional underserved farmers are eligible for a waiver of the service fee and 50% premium reduction (file form CCC-860).

What are the NAP coverage levels?

  • Catastrophic Coverage (CAT) covers losses greater than 50 percent at 55 percent of the commodity price.
  • Additional coverage, with premium, is available from 50 to 65 percent in 5 percent increments for production loss at 100 percent of average market price.
  • Premiums for additional coverage is equivalent to 5.25 percent of calculated crop covered value (accounts for share of crop, eligible acres, approved yield, coverage level, and average market price)

Crop losses and NAP?

  • When a loss occurs, notify the FSA office within 15 days of the natural disaster occurrence, prevented planting due to natural influences, date damage is apparent, or normal harvest date (whichever date comes first).
  • For hand-harvested crops that require a timely assessment of loss before deterioration, notify FSA of losses within 72 hours for certain crops.
  • Losses must be verified by the producer by completing form CCC-576, additional documentation/evidence may apply.
  • Average market values are used. At the state level, FSA may set separate market prices for a crop based on represented farming practices or sales to different markets within the state.
  • Retroactive pay for 2012 NAP assistance is available for losses to fruit crops (trees or bushes) in counties that had Secretarial disaster designations due to frost or freeze are available.

Additional Information

  • Grazed acres can only participate in NAP at the CAT level; however, these acres can only participate in either NAP or Livestock Forage Disaster Assistance Program
  • Annually, payments are limited to $125,000 per individual or entity.
  • Additional information can be found at fsa.usda.gov/nap.
  • A decision tool is available through FSA and collaborating universities, http://fsa.usapas.com/

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New Guidelines for Cover Crop Termination Affects Crop Insurance

Contributed by Steven D. JohnsonFarm Management Specialist, Iowa State University Extension, sdjohns@iastate.edu, 515-957-5790

Johnson_Steve_sm

If you planted a cover crop last fall and need to terminate it this spring in fields that will be planted to corn or soybeans, when should you kill the cover crop? Timing for termination of a cover crop can affect whether the crop insurance coverage attaches for the corn and soybean crop yet to be planted.

The USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has issued new guidelines for cover crop termination in 2014 that are slightly different from last year.  RMA officials made these changes after meeting with officials from USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and the Farm Service Agency (FSA). Through the interagency working group a consistent and flexible cover crop policy can be applied across all USDA agencies.

With the new guidelines farmers can hopefully obtain the conservation benefits of cover crops while minimizing risk of reducing yield to the following crop due to soil water use.

The NRCS Guidelines for 2014 use four strategic management zones across the nation. Iowa has two of those zones. As the accompanying map shows, about a third of Iowa (western portion) is in Zone 3, while the rest of Iowa is in Zone 4.

If you are in Zone 3, you must terminate the cover crop at or before planting the subsequent crop, which is likely corn or soybeans. In Zone 4, the rest of Iowa, you must terminate the cover crop at or within 5 days after planting the subsequent crop if you want the subsequent crop to be insured.

cover crop termination zones 2014

Termination is not about a date; it’s about when you are going to plant the subsequent corn or soybean crop.  The cover crop, if it is not 100% destroyed, will compete with corn or soybeans for moisture in the soil. That’s the reason for the different zones.

Termination means growth has ended for 100% of the cover crop in the field. These NRCS Guidelines basically state that you have to terminate growth of the cover crop before crop insurance coverage attaches to the corn or soybean crop you plant in that field.

You can still graze or hay a cover crop, but crop insurance will not attach to the crop following a cover crop if termination of the cover crop is not done according to these new guidelines. The key is you want to kill the cover crop if you want the crop insurance coverage to attach. Contact your crop insurance agent if you have questions. The 2014 Cover Crops Crop Insurance and NRCS Cover Crop Termination Guidelines FAQs are at: http://www.rma.usda.gov/help/faq/covercrops2014.html.

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Final Harvest Prices for Crop Insurance Determined

Contributed by Steve Johnson, Extension Farm Management Field Specialist, sdjohns@iastate.edu.

Johnson_Steve_smHarvest prices determined in the month of October appear to be $4.39 per bushel for corn and $12.87 per bushel for soybeans. These are the average futures prices for December CME corn and November CME soybean contracts in the month of October. These final numbers are still to be verified by the USDA Risk Management Agency (RMA).

This and the farm’s actual 2013 yields are the final pieces in determining the potential crop insurance indemnity claim for both corn and soybeans. Those final harvest prices suggest that crop insurance revenue policies on corn will trigger indemnity payments this year. This is especially true if the insured purchased a revenue policy at higher levels of coverage (80 or 85 percent). Farmers experiencing yields below their Actual Production History (APH) should keep good production records and report these to their crop insurance agent immediately upon completion of harvest.

It would take a significant drop in yields to trigger such an indemnity payment. For corn, the harvest price dropped by more than 22 percent from the projected price of $5.65 per bushel determined in February. Since revenue protection coverage guarantees yield times price, those higher levels of coverage will trigger if the actual harvest yields falls below the insured’s APH.

For soybeans, the harvest price is exactly the same at the projected price, $12.87 per bushel. That’s the average settlement price of the November CME soybean futures contract during February. To trigger an indemnity payment in soybeans, the actual yield will need to fall at least 15 percent below the APH for an 85 percent level of coverage. So a substantial yield loss on soybeans will have to occur before crop insurance indemnity payments would be triggered.

Since corn and soybean yields will vary across farms and many insureds use enterprise unit coverage, crop insurance indemnity payments will also vary. A farmer should contact their crop insurance agent with their estimated yields to determine the potential for an indemnity claim. Keep good production records and report the final production immediately upon completion of harvest. This will help expedite an indemnity claim for 2013 and help determine the APH for 2014 crop insurance decisions.

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Estimating Crop Insurance Indemnity Payments

Contributed by Steve Johnson, Extension Farm Management Field Specialist, sdjohns@iastate.edu.

Johnson_Steve_smHarvest prices determined in October will have a large impact on the size of the potential crop insurance indemnity payments for corn and soybeans. Current futures prices suggest that crop insurance revenue policies on corn will make indemnity payments on some farms, particularly those that purchased revenue policies at high coverage levels and are experiencing yields below their Actual Production History (APH). In Iowa, there’s a better chance for insurance indemnity payments on corn than there is for soybeans this fall. It would likely take a significant drop in soybean yields to likely trigger such a payment.

Crop Insurance Indemnity Payments

The 2013 projected price for corn is $5.65 per bushel. That’s the average settlement price of the December Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) corn futures contract during February. This projected price is used to set crop insurance guarantees and the premium paid by farmers. The harvest price is used to calculate revenue on which crop insurance indemnity payments are based. The harvest price for corn equals the average of settlement prices of the December CME corn futures contract during October. Settlement prices during the first 10 days of October suggest a harvest price of $4.40 per bushel. The final harvest price can vary before the end of the month, but this number provides a good starting point for evaluating corn payments.

An estimate of a $4.40 harvest price is 78% of the $5.65 projected price ($4.40 harvest price divided by $5.65 projected price = 78%). If actual yield equals the guarantee yield on revenue polices of an 80% level or greater coverage levels, it will likely trigger an indemnity payment. So an actual yield that falls 22% or more below the APH should command attention by the farmer. They will need to notify their crop insurance agent and make sure good records can verify this actual yield.

The projected price for soybeans is $12.87 per bushel. That’s the average settlement price of the November CME soybean futures contract during February. The first 10 days of settlement prices during October for November soybean futures suggest a harvest price of $12.75 per bushel. Similar to corn, the soybean harvest price is not yet known, but $12.75 is a useful starting point for evaluating a potential insurance indemnity payment on soybeans.

A $12.75 harvest price is 99% of the $12.87 projected price. Because 99% is above coverage levels offered by crop insurance revenue products, a yield loss has to occur before crop insurance indemnity payments would be made. Since corn and soybean yields will vary across farms and most farmers use enterprise unit coverage, crop insurance indemnity payments will also vary. A farmer should contact their crop insurance agent regarding the actual yield records necessary for an indemnity claim, updating their APH with this year’s harvest numbers or making their 2013 premium payment.

For farm management information and analysis visit Ag Decision Maker at www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm; ISU farm management specialist Steve Johnson’s site is at www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farm-management.

Ag Decision Maker (AgDM) 

An agricultural economics and business website.

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