As Crop Condition Declines, Bambi Sidwell Says Insurance Adjusters in High DemandMon, 12 May 2014 17:33:47 CDT
With poor weather conditions continuing to hammer both winter wheat and canola, producers are turning to their insurance agents to make claims or to help make decisions on how to move forward with what remains of their crop.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays spoke recently with Bambi Sidwell of Sidwell Insurance at the Lahoma Wheat Field Day. (You can hear that interview by clicking on the LISTEN BAR at the bottom of the story.) Sidwell said her company is handling a consistent stream of calls from producers seeking guidance on where to go from here.
She said there are a lot of farmers who spoke with an adjuster before their crop headed out and might not have accepted the adjuster's appraisal at that time. She said they might want to speak with an adjuster again to discuss any change in their crop's condition and their options.
"As far as destroying their wheat, farmers do have the option to go ahead a leave some strips so they can utilize the crop before it is completely disastered-for hay purposes or grazing."
Sidwell said the wheat south of State Highway 51 is headed out now so adjusters from all of the crop insurance companies are able to release that wheat, but it could still take some time before an adjuster can appraise the crop.
"Every company that I spoke with-we have quite a few represented in Oklahoma-it seems like all of them are about six to seven days out before being able to make it to your field, so that's why the stripping is kind of a big deal right now because if they're interested in going ahead and cutting it before they see an adjuster, that is a way they can go ahead and get the wheat swathed down."
For producers who still might have a good crop in the field, Sidwell said they might want to consider fire insurance given the wildfires that the state has seen recently.
"For those not aware, your multi-peril policy only covers fire caused by lightning. So crop fire caused by somebody driving by and throwing something out the window that could cause a fire or a bearing going out on your combine, or a pickup driving out in a field, a fire caused by that is not covered by your multi-peril crop insurance. And fire insurance is a very inexpensive coverage that our companies out there offer."
She said some companies offer $200 worth of coverage per acre for as little as 32 cents per acre. Farmers who have hail insurance may already have fire coverage included at no extra charge, she said, but producers should review their policies with the agents to be on the safe side.
As far as canola is concerned, Sidwell said it seems to have weathered the late season freeze better than the wheat. The question is whether the pods the plants were able to set after freeze will actually fill with seed. It will be a little while before producers will know the full extent of potential damage to their crop.
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