In most states farmers have only until March 17 to sign up for federally subsidized crop insurance on spring planted crops, or to make any changes to existing policies.
In many states, last year’s drought produced record crop insurance payouts. Producers, trying to protect their marketing position on surging grain prices invested in high levels of crop insurance protection. They were protected by those risk management decisions.
This was especially true in Oklahoma ($159 million), Delaware ($17 million), and Maryland ($35 million). Also hard hit were South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oregon, and Virginia.
Nationally over $3 Billion had been paid out in indemnities as of February 25. Interestingly less than half of the premiums were paid out in indemnities (48%).
The crop insurance program worked as intended in 2007. Farmers shared the risks across the entire country and across 400 insurable crops.
Ample help to compare choices is available. Futures prices for grains are again high and producers have until March 17, in 38 Northern and central states, to make this year’s crop insurance decisions. Normally the deadline is March 15. But since it falls on Saturday, farmers have until Monday, March 17, to finalize plans.
In many cases, premiums and established prices are different from last year. Producers should contact a crop insurance agent, well before the deadline, and ask for a free comparison of their crop insurance options.
Which crops are insurable, and which types of policies are available, vary from state to state and county to county.