Md. Farmers Urged To Check Crop Insurance Before Chopping Corn

MDA is Offering Free Grain Testing to Farmers

ANNAPOLIS (July 23, 2007) - While many farmers have purchased crop insurance to manage their risk against weather conditions such as the current drought, the Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) today reminded farmers who may be reporting crop damage claims this year to stay in close contact with their crop insurance agent as there are rules that must be followed to receive claims. In addition, MDA's State Chemist Section announces that it is now offering farmers free testing of corn grain and forage for nitrates, aflatoxins and prussic acid. These compounds, which can be deadly to livestock, are often present in grain in dry weather conditions.

"Crop insurance is a key risk management strategy that could prove vitally important in 2007 and I encourage all of our farmers to stay on top of crop insurance requirements with their agents as it looks like there will be significant losses in some of our crops this summer," said Agriculture Secretary Roger Richardson. "MDA is fortunate to have a state-of-the-art lab and is pleased to provide services such as grain and forage testing to farmers to protect their livestock from toxins. Farmers should contact their local Cooperative Extension office for the sampling and submission process."

Federal crop insurance requires written notice be given to crop insurance agents within 72 hours of discovery of damage or loss; 15 days before harvest begins, and within 15 days after harvesting is completed but not later than Dec. 10 for grain corn and soybeans on a farm unit basis. Also farmers are reminded to not destroy evidence of damage until a loss adjuster evaluates it.

It is important for farmers who are planning to cut grain-type corn for silage to determine the grain content before harvesting regardless of whether the crop is insured on yield or revenue. If loss adjusting workload does not permit adjustors to appraise damaged crop acreage before a farmer is ready to start cutting silage, federal crop insurance policies require that loss adjusters select sample row areas for later yield determination and provide the farmer with written authority to leave such areas that they designate as sample rows. It is important that notice of damage be filed with a crop insurance agent as early as the farmer determines that damage occurred so that harvesting is not delayed while waiting for a loss adjuster.

More than 5,200 crop insurance policies are in place in Maryland in 2007 on more than 730,000 acres. Since 2003, the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the USDA-Risk Management Agency and the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension to explain and promote federal crop insurance to the state's farmers.

For more information about crop insurance, contact your crop insurance agent; Mark Powell, Chief of Marketing and Agricultural Development at MDA 410-841-5775; or Gene Gantz, Risk Management Specialist with the USDA Risk Management Agency 717-787-4694.

For instructions on grain sampling and submission, contact a local Maryland Cooperative Extension office or log onto .

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