With cool and wet weather throughout April and May, many North Dakota farmers have experienced a delay in planting their crops.
And with this delay, farmers may miss deadlines for full crop insurance coverage.
According to cropinsuranceinamerica.org, more than 460 million acres of farmland were protected by federal crop insurance in 2021.
May 25 is the last day to plant corn and canola for farmers in many North Dakota counties in order to have those crops fully covered by insurance.
“I’ve taken a lot of calls from farmers saying what’s the deadline? What’s the penalty if I go past the deadline? Because there’s incentive this year to get the crop in the ground because the prices are so high. So they want to get the seed in the ground,” said Nick Dryer, the insurance branch supervisor for Ag Country Farm Credit Services.
And for each day after the deadline that farmers continue to plant, their coverage goes down.
“For instance in a lot of crops, if you go a couple days past a final plant date, your coverage level on your insurance drops a percentage every day, in canola, it’s 2 percent every day,” said Dryer.
Gary Neshem, a Berthold farmer, says he just started planting canola on Tuesday, which is late.
“We just started today,” said Neshem. “We tried to go yesterday, it was too wet. so we had to run a vertical tillage unit over the field and just got going here this morning again.”
He says it will take a few days to finish planting the crop.
“We can be done in two, three days here, so we’ll just be past a day or two,” said Neshem.
Neshem isn’t the only farmer who will be planting after the final plant date.
Dryer says he has talked to a lot of farmers who will be planting their crops after the deadline.
“Soybeans have become really popular in the last several years,” said Dryer. “And across North Dakota, that’s June 10th. I’ve talked to a lot of farmers that they’re gonna push it past the deadline. I’ve talked to a farmer that says I’m gonna go until June 20th. he doesn’t care about the reduction in insurance, he wants to get the crop in the ground.”
Neshem also says he doesn’t mind the point loss on his coverage either.
“I’m not too worried about losing a few percentage points on the coverage,” said Neshem. “We’re gonna plant until it gets too late.”
There are also prevented planting provisions in insurance policies that can help farmers with the delay.
“If you can’t get it in by the deadline, you get paid a certain portion of your crop history, of your guarantee of crop insurance, for preventing those acres from being planted,” said Dryer.
Nesham has a hopeful outlook for the rest of this year’s planting and growing season.
“If we can get this crop seeded and if the good Lord above works with us and has a decent summer and a decent harvest this fall, it’ll be a good crop,” said Neshem.
Dryer says it’s important farmers get in contact with their insurance agents as soon as possible to make their prevented planting claims because if they wait too long, the claim could be denied.