Posted July 22, 2015
Missouri filed a lawsuit pushing the federal government to extend a key agricultural deadline, which is necessary to keep many of the state’s farmers eligible for crop insurance, according to a News Leader article available here. Insurance Journal also published an article available hereand KSPR here.
Attorney General Chris Koster filed the federal lawsuit against Tom Vilsack, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
“Missouri farmers rely on the availability of insurance to guard their crops against events beyond their control,” Koster said a press release. “The USDA should not punish farmers whose planting was delayed by unexpected rain and flooding by enforcing an arbitrary deadline. Millions of dollars in Missouri agriculture is at risk, and we will fight to make sure these resources are protected.”
Sixty percent of Missouri farmers could be ineligible for crop insurance this year, because heavy rainfalls and floods will prevent them from meeting the reporting deadline.
The USDA requires farmers to report their planted acreage each year by a fixed deadline, which is July 15 for farmers in northwest Missouri. Rainfall over the past two months caused severe flooding so severe that the Governor declared a state of emergency. Many farmers were unable to plant their crops in time to get accurate acreage reports filed, even with the five-day grace period normally allowed by the USDA, according to KSPR.
His lawsuit asks a federal court to require that the agriculture agency give farmers 15 additional days to file reports, according to Insurance Journal.
The federal agriculture department says by law it cannot extend the deadline, but said it will work with farmers to help them maintain coverage.
For more information on crop insurance programs, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.