Changes coming to sunflower insurance after push from Sen. Cramer, National Sunflower Association

Local News

After months of working to bring change to crop insurance for producers — that change is here.

The Risk Management Agency, or RMA, announced it will allow sunflower enterprise and optional units to be insured by type.

Confectionary sunflower seeds, intended for human consumption, are worth more than seeds used for oil, but for years, were insured for the same amount, regardless of value.

“When you are running risk, and when you’re managing your risk, obviously the price of the product matters,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer.

He related the issue with insuring a corvette at the cost of a Chevette, with the Chevette being considerably cheaper.

“If you had oil sunflower seeds and you had a claim on them but you were getting paid at the confectionary price, you were probably making out pretty well,” said Cramer.

However, change has come, and now the RMA is separating the type of seeds, allowing for more fair payouts across the board.

“It’ll give the program much more clarity, flexibility, and overall it’s just a great addition for growers,” said John Sandbakken, executive director of National Sunflower Association.

The changes will go into effect this upcoming growing season.

“We spent a considerable amount of time reviewing and analyzing this request from sunflowers growers and are excited to announce this change for the 2022 crop year,” said Marcia Bunger, RMA administrator.

Cramer commended the USDA and says that it was not only met with a good response but a fast one as well.”

With North Dakota constantly ranking at or near the top in the nation for sunflower production, the hope is that this will encourage more producers to fill their fields with the crop.

“And it really just helps us to get more acres planted and have more crop available to sell,” said Sandbakken.

Overall, producers, as well as the NSA, look at this as a win.

North and South Dakota accounted for 84 percent of the sunflowers grown in the U.S. in 2020. Sunflowers are also very drought resistant, even in a drought as extreme as this year.

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