TOPEKA – As drought conditions continue worsening across the state, the Kansas Department of Agriculture urged farmers and ranchers to meet immediately with their crop insurance appraisers to determine how best to manage their drought-damaged crops.
In order to help producers, the Topeka regional office for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) has issued updated information for agricultural producers whose crops have been damaged by the drought, which has impacted agricultural production in all 105 Kansas counties.
As of July 17, all counties have received a state drought declaration, 87 counties have been declared federal disaster areas and 91 counties have been approved for emergency haying and grazing of acres enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).
Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Dale Rodman said the department continues to work with its state and federal partners to make sure farmers and ranchers have the resources they need to cope with the drought.
“As I travel across the state and see firsthand the impacts of the drought and hear from farmers and ranchers about the challenges they are facing, it is clear this drought is having significant, devastating impacts on Kansas agriculture,” Rodman said. “In the past, crop insurance rules on drought-damaged crops have been confusing for producers. Rather than dealing with unclear, bureaucratic red tape, farmers and ranchers need to spend their time caring for their crops and livestock.
"In order to improve crop insurance delivery on drought-damaged crops, my agency has worked with RMA to address and clarify the rules to assure farmers and ranchers have a clear and concise set of rules to follow.”
The updated RMA information defines steps producers must take when they plan to put their spring-planted crops to another use, including diverting or shutting off irrigation. RMA stressed the importance of farmers communicating immediately with their crop insurance appraisers if they intend to shut off irrigation.
Additionally, RMA clarified that when a policyholder chooses to divert water, recommendations that diverting the water is the most appropriate action can be based on conditions in the local area, not a specific farming operation. RMA noted that the area extension or a local USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service office can make that recommendation for the sample area.
RMA also clarified rules related to producers who have multi-year water allocations. Producers who report the crop as an irrigated practice at the time the insurance was attached are not required to irrigate beyond the annual amount used to establish the multi-year allocation.