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Reporting Crop Damage and Losses in Vermont

Reporting crop damage and expected losses will be especially important this fall as the full impact of Tropical Storm Irene becomes more apparent.

According to Bob Parsons, the University of Vermont Extension agricultural business management specialist, timely and accurate reporting of crop damage and losses by farmers is important, not only for crop insurance purposes, but for other U.S. Department of Agriculture benefits, including the Farm Service Agency's (FSA) Supplemental Revenue program (SURE), which provides financial assistance for crop production and/or quality losses due to a natural disaster.

Crop insurance loss claims have many requirements, including advance notice for crop appraisals. For this reason, it's important that notice of damage be filed with your crop insurance agent as early as you determine that damage occurred so that harvesting is not delayed.

Don't destroy evidence of damage until a loss adjuster evaluates it. Crop insurance policies require reporting damage for each insurance unit within 72 hours of discovery of damage, 15 days before harvesting begins and again within 15 days after harvesting is completed, but not later than calendar date for end of the insurance. That's Oct. 20 for corn insured as silage and Dec. 10 for corn insured as grain and soybeans.

Reporting deadlines must be met for each insurance unit.  FSA also must be notified of any damage for the SURE Program.

Good record keeping will be more important than ever this year. During harvest, keep notes on the amount harvested from each field on a per unit farm basis.

If production will be fed before or after the claim is adjusted or production from two insurance units will be mixed, specific detailed record keeping is required. Take extra care not to misplace receipts that show your investment in the crop and the cost of any custom work performed as they may be needed to document loss claims.

The use of crop insurance as a risk management tool continues to play an increasing role on Vermont farms.  Statewide producers increased their insurance protection by 20 percent in 2011, with over $30 million of crop and livestock protection.

Information on the extent of losses of crops and livestock in Vermont is being collected by FSA in order to secure funding for flood recovery efforts. Farmers with damage are encouraged to complete the Agricultural Damage Assessment Form, available from the UVM Extension homepage, at http://www.uvm.edu/extension/

For more information, contact Pam Smith, UVM crop insurance coordinator, at (802) 349-2966 or (802) 349-2966 (cell) or by e-mail at pamela.smith@uvm.edu. Or visit www.uvm.edu/extension for 'Irene' recovery information and resources for farms and families.

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