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Agriculture Blog

Wheat Claims and Grazing Out Fields

Wheat Claims

For those of you that are grazing cattle on your wheat, March 15th is the final day to “short rate” your wheat on that grazed field.  If you have decided to graze-out a field that was originally intended to be harvested for grain, you will need to contact our office prior to March 15th so that we may remove those particular acres from your insurance policy and short rate them for you. 

Graze Out Wheat

For those of you that are grazing cattle on your wheat, March 15th is the final day to “short rate” your wheat on that grazed field.  If you have decided to graze-out a field that was originally intended to be harvested for grain, you will need to contact our office prior to March 15th so that we may remove those particular acres from your insurance policy and short rate them for you. 

Accurate Acreage and Mapping

Please pay attention to each item/unit on your acre reports! The Insured is responsible for reporting ALL acres planted in the county which they have a share in for each crop listed on the policy. We see most issues arise when there has been added land to the farming operation or forgetting to report double cropped acres. If you have added land, please let our office know so that we can set up a new unit for you on your acre report. We will need to know the legal and crop-share on any added land.

It is also very important that acres reported on an acre report accurately reflect what you turn in at FSA. It is beneficial to our office to get a copy of your 578 from FSA to make sure that all info reported matches up accurately. This will help us process any future claims quickly and efficiently. We know that the paperwork that goes into farming is not on the top of anyone’s list, but we are here to help you! Feel free to stop by and let us help you get your acre reporting forms filled out.

We Map!

As you may know, Patty Stude, does the mapping for all of our insureds’ farms at the office.  What this means is she takes the planted acres from your acre reports and specifically maps them onto a specialized mapping program we have.  Many of you have received phone calls from Patty so that she can get the specifics on where your acres are planted.  This helps her get precise acres and also helps our adjusters at claim time to find your fields.  These maps are highly detailed and we would love to share them with you!  Call our office if you would be interested in getting a copy of your personalized farm map.

Advanced Sprinkler Coverage for your Irrigation System

We have a great replacement cost sprinkler coverage program at our office.  As we saw in 2015, thousands of dollars of sprinklers can be damaged in just a few moments.  Our replacement cost sprinkler coverage is cost-efficient and will get you back up and watering with a new system.  Most of our coverages include mechanical and electrical and will insure most sprinklers, regardless of how old they are.  In this industry, many companies will not even allow this type of replacement cost coverage after the sprinkler is 15-20 years old. 

Having to come up with a large sum of money to replace a sprinkler after a storm can be heartbreaking and burdensome to any farming operation.  Help put your mind at ease and come talk with us about the coverage we can offer your farm.  We are very proud of this program and believe it is one of the best out there.  Give us a call for a quick quote today!

Know the Benefits of Multi-peril Policies

The exceptionally wet fall and winter months have set our wheat crop up for a good start!  If only we could get the commodity prices headed in the right direction, we wouldn’t have anything to complain about, would we?  As Gary said, we have started meeting with you all to make sure that your policies are set up and ready to go for Spring planting.  As the commodity prices are low, most insureds are looking at their bottom dollar as the year starts off.  One thing we don’t want you to skimp on is cutting yourself short on insurance.  There is always an opportunity to cut-back, but when things are tight you can’t afford not to have adequate coverage on your crop.  When we were hit with the horrible storms last summer, we felt assured that our farmers were covered as well as they were.  I know it hurts to write that check for your insurance premium, but when we are hit with a hail storm as severe as we have had, the indemnity payments or hail payments that came back to our insureds kept us convinced that these programs are out there to help protect your bottom line. 

A few of the things we are reviewing from now until March 15th is your current level of multi-peril coverage and any hail/HPP coverage changes that may need to be made.  Hail coverage can be just as important as your multi-peril level of coverage.  Multi-peril policies cover for any type of damage to your crop (drought, water failure, wind, etc), but only up to a certain level (for instance 70% coverage). At a 70% coverage level, that still leaves 30% of your crop out there to chance.  We offer many different types of hail coverage to protect your crop at a price that works best for you.  Even a basic hail plan on your crop can help you survive the storm.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know each of you and your farming operations over the last several months.  We live in a great community surrounded by great people.  We appreciate your business and look forward to a successful 2016.  Blessings.

Ag Insurance Update – 1Q16

Here we go with another cropping season just around the corner.  It seems that it has been a monumental challenge throughout the winter to get things done in the field because of wet conditions.  The recurring thought I hear is that this is mostly a good problem to have.  Although progress has been slow, it appears that those wanting to get some farming done have been able to do so.  Fertilizer prices have started to subside a bit and energy costs continue to remain low.  Unfortunately, the grain prices have also remained in a sideways to downward trend.   The wheat crop looks to be in good condition and the subsoil moisture should provide the crop a few weeks of good growth potential after it breaks dormancy.   

On the subject of crop insurance, there has been little change this year in the multi-peril coverage.  Last year was a big year for change with several different variations of coverage to choose from, along with the farm bill modifications.  Whole Farm Revenue Protection is a product that is new this year and provides a risk management safety net for all commodities on the farm.  This “WFRP” can be purchased alone or in conjunction with other buy-up level policies.   I see it as a difficult fit for this area but we do have it available and if you have interest in learning more, please call for additional information.    We also have a new private product available called Added Price Option.  This lets the producer increase the insured value on corn or soybeans, essentially buying up the projected price per bushel.  APO would then pay the increased value when there is a yield loss on the unit.  Give us a call for more details if this is something you are interested in. 

We are currently in the price setting period and for corn the full month of February is used to determine the final price.  Right now we are estimating it will settle in between $3.85-$3.90. Hail premiums are unchanged in some areas and up in other areas.  Please contact us if you would like to review your current program.   Our main focus during this time of year is meeting with producers to make sure we have the proper risk management program in place for the upcoming season. Farming operations are constantly evolving and we will assist you to ensure you are properly covered to meet your changing needs. 

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve you.  We sincerely appreciate the business and personal relationships that we have made through the years.  We know you have a choice when it comes to who you do business with.  We will continue to do our best at keeping you informed and making sure you have what you need when it comes to protecting your operation.   Please feel free to call or stop by if you have questions or comments. 

Seasonal Reminders

Now is the time to double check all information on your policy.  Have you provided us with information regarding any changes to your operation?  Please consider the following:

  • Any changes to entity type, name, tax id number, or marital status?
  • Have you established a trust?
  • Any changes to SBI’s (any person or entity with a substantial beneficial interest in the policy/entity)?

The information on your policy must match how it is carried at FSA.  Because this is a federally sponsored program, regulations state that the crop insurance policy can be deemed “not valid” if any of the above information is not listed properly on the policy.  Please double check.

Accurate Acreage Reporting

When you are preparing your “Acreage Reporting Form”, please remember to report ALL ACRES planted to that crop in the county which you have a share in.  If it is the first time the crop will be planted on a field (added land, new practice, etc.) there may not be a unit set up on the reporting form.  In this instance you must write the information in on the bottom of the form.  Also, make sure to report any acres that are going to be grazed out.  Unreported acres cause issues at claim time and can result in a reduced claim payment or unpaid claim situation.  PLEASE MAKE SURE TO DOUBLE CHECK YOUR REPORTED ACRES. 

Claim Reporting

Please notify us as soon as you suspect that you may have a loss on an insured crop.  Also, we must be notified BEFORE you take any alternative action on your insured crop.  There is no harm in reporting a potential claim and then discovering that it is not a loss situation.  Requirements for claim reporting is that it must be reported to our office within 15 days of harvesting the unit.  Timely loss reporting is very important and helps us to avoid difficult situations such as a denied claim.

Fall Harvest Reminders

Fall harvest is getting started.  Please remember to keep these things in mind.

  • Keep harvested production on all units separate, even if you have to take a small load to the elevator.  Separate records are required for both claims and proof of production.
  • Remember to report 100% of the production for each unit.
  • Let us know immediately if you think you have a potential loss.
  • Please provide us with a proof of yield document along with your production reporting form.  This is necessary for claims as well as documenting reported production.

Are Your Sprinklers Insured only for “Actual Cash Value?”

We have an excellent product to insure your irrigation sprinklers at replacement cost, including mechanical and electrical issues, regardless of the age of the sprinkler.  Discovering at claim time that your sprinkler insurance was only for “actual cash value” can be an expensive lesson.

Let us help you review your coverage and provide a quote comparison.  It may not be as expensive as you think to have good coverage.

Ag Insurance Update – 4Q15

This Spring and Summer have been another season of highs and lows with many things to be thankful for, but at the same time we realize through events in our lives that we are not in control and not promised a life without struggles and difficulties. Through it all, I continue to believe that we are blessed as a family, blessed to live in this area of great people and great communities, and blessed to live in this country.

As harvest approaches we can look back on a growing season that has provided our area with abundant rainfall and our crops appear to be in excellent condition. Unfortunately, we also had some areas that received some very damaging hail and winds. The producers that were severely damaged in some cases lost multiple fields of growing crops that were very close to totally destroyed and a few fields were completely wiped out. Although this is very discouraging, we have been able to show that with the right insurance products in place, financially these producers should have a year very close to what it would have been with no crop damage. This gives us a very good feeling and is why we do what we do.

With wheat planting just around the corner, please remember that September 30th is the last day to make changes to your wheat policy for the 2016 crop year if you have anything that has changed in your operation or if you desire to make other adjustments. In the Spring of 2015, as a result of the new Farm Bill, we were able to offer a few new options to the multi-peril coverage policy for Spring crops. Those options are now available for wheat beginning with the 2016 crop year.

– Separate Coverage Level elections for irrigated and non-irrigated acreage: This allows you to choose different coverage levels by practice.

-Separate Enterprise Units for irrigated and non-irrigated acreage: This allows you to choose separate enterprise unit coverage by practice. Both practices must qualify for enterprise unit separately.
-Yield Exclusion: This election allows you to exclude any recorded or appraised yield for any crop year where the per-planted acre yield in the county is at least 50% below the simple average for the crop in the county for the previous 10 consecutive crop years.

These, along with several other Farm Bill changes, provide the producer with additional risk management tools to utilize. Please let us know if you are interested in learning more or would like to discuss making changes on your policy.

Wheat is currently in the price setting period and will be completed on September 15. It is currently tracking at $5.29 and has a volatility factor of .23 which is a high volatility.

We try to keep you informed and updated on what is happening and what is needed at this time of year for you to keep your policy in good shape. With all of the constant changes as well as changing regulations in crop insurance, to make sure your policy is how you need it this is definitely not a “set and forget” type of insurance. We are here to help.

Thank you again for your confidence in us and for your business. I consider it an honor to be able to work for great people in a great industry.

Meet Megan – Our Latest Team Member

In March I left the banking world and jumped on board here as a new Agent at Southwest Ag Insurance and boy has it been a ride!  From the ‘miracle wheat crop’ to the July 3rd hail storm, it’s been a baptism by fire type education.

Megan Evans and Family

I moved back to Montezuma 5 years ago with my husband, Scott Evans.  In the last 5 years we’ve grown to a family size of 4 with two boys, Eli—age 3, and Carson—age 2.  Scott farms with my family, the Reed’s, and we’ve enjoyed working and raising our family in rural Southwest Kansas.  I’ve had several old-timers in the insurance industry admit that this has been a crazy time to learn the insurance business.  With the implementation of the new Farm Bill laws with ARC and PLC, to the new options of Enterprise by practice, and coverage level by irrigated practice, it seems that even the experts are trying to wrap their mind around these rules. However, it’s been an exciting few months to see wheat yields come in above-average and it’s even more exciting to watch the current fall crops grow and mature with the excess moisture we’ve been blessed with. 

I look forward to getting to know all of you and your farming operations better and appreciate the patience you’ve had with me in my first few months here. Gary is one of the best in the business and I look forward to working with him and the rest of our talented staff at Southwest Ag Insurance.

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Southwest Ag Insurance
203 Santa Fe
P.O. Box 246
Copeland, KS 67837