In light of current drought conditions, Minnesota agriculture commissioner Dave Frederickson and commerce commissioner Mike Rothman issued a consumer alert encouraging Minnesota farmers to consider purchasing crop insurance ahead of this year's growing season.
The standard deadline for purchasing crop insurance is less than one month away. Farmers must finalize a crop insurance plan with their insurance agent by March 15.
"Benjamin Franklin once said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; and Minnesota farmers may stand to benefit from that wisdom this growing season," said Rothman, the state's top insurance regulator. "If dry conditions persist in the weeks and months ahead, having proper crop insurance coverage could be crucial. We encourage all farmers to review their crop insurance needs this month."
As spring planting season approaches, the threat of drought is real. According to the National Weather Service, more than 96% of Minnesota is currently facing moderate to severe drought conditions, and more than 99% of the state is facing "abnormally dry" conditions. By comparison, one year ago this month only 4% of the state was facing abnormally dry conditions – in fact, farmers and communities across Minnesota were instead bracing for the possibility of severe flooding.
"Risk comes in many forms when you're a farmer, from commodity prices to input costs to weather," Frederickson said. "Crop insurance is an important tool for managing that risk, and I encourage farmers to review their options carefully."
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency, before purchasing crop insurance farmers should consider how a policy will work in conjunction with their other risk management strategies to ensure the best possible outcome each crop year. Crop insurance agents and other agri-business specialists can assist farmers in developing a good management plan. A list of crop insurance agents by county can be found on the RMA website.
RMA provides policies for more than 100 crops. Crop insurance policies typically consist of general crop insurance provisions, specific crop provisions, policy endorsements and special provisions. Minnesota farmers are encouraged to review RMA's county crop program listings for more information about crop policies available in their home county. Policies are available for most commodities.
Source: Commerce Department