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Published November 28, 2009, 12:00 AM

Contact your agent for delayed harvest as crop insurance coverage ends Dec. 10

WILLMAR — Extremely wet field conditions this fall resulted in many local farmers having to delay harvest activity. In some cases, farmers may have to wait until the ground freezes before all of their crop can be harvested using their normal harvest equipment.

By: Wes Nelson, USDA Farm Service Agency , West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Extremely wet field conditions this fall resulted in many local farmers having to delay harvest activity. In some cases, farmers may have to wait until the ground freezes before all of their crop can be harvested using their normal harvest equipment.

For most spring planted crops, including corn and soybeans, the crop insurance coverage period ends Dec. 10. However, producers may receive additional time to harvest their crop, provided they contact their crop insurance agent before the Dec. 10 deadline to report a loss, and indicate that the completion of harvest will be delayed due to adverse weather conditions.

Crop insurance companies are not authorized to extend the insurance coverage period, but are, on a case-by-case basis, allowed to extend the time for producers to harvest the crop. This is done so that any losses can be settled based on the harvested production versus an appraisal of the crop in the field.

If granted additional harvesting time, farmers must continue to carry out normal and customary harvesting practices if the opportunity arises.

Any additional crop damage suffered during the period of extended harvest activity will be covered if the loss is due to an insurable cause. However, any damage that occurs after the allowed window of harvest activity will not be covered.

In order to receive an accurate claim settlement, producers should carefully document the conditions that caused the delay in harvest and what actions, if any, were taken to harvest the crop.

Crop insurance companies should not perform final inspections if weather conditions, such as heavy snow cover, make it impossible for adjusters to perform accurate field appraisals.

Farmers are encouraged to visit with their insurance agent if they have any questions regarding the terms and conditions of their crop insurance policy, including their responsibilities when filing a notice of loss.

Number of American Indian farm operators up 88 percent

The 2007 Census of Agriculture marked the most comprehensive statistical and outreach effort that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ever conducted on American Indian reservations. In celebration of American Indian Heritage Month, officials from USDA recently released the information that was obtained regarding American Indian farmers.

The census indicated that there are nearly 80,000 American Indian operators on 61,472 farms and ranches across the United States. This represents an 88 percent increase over the number of American Indian farmers that USDA counted during its 2002 census.

The census also showed a 124 percent increase in the number of American Indians who were the principal operator of a farm or ranch. Their operations account for nearly 50 million acres of farmland in the United States.

When compared to all farms nationwide, those operated by American Indians tend to be smaller in terms of sales, averaging $40,331, but significantly larger in size, averaging 1,431 acres.

USDA scientists develop method to preserve ash tree budwood

Using cryopreservation methods, scientists from USDA’s Agricultural Research Service have developed a procedure to store frozen budwood from ash trees, and then later thaw the delicate buds for propagation purposes.

The discovery is considered significant since the stored budwood samples, along with conserved seed, can serve as a national source for reintroducing ash trees once the devastation from the emerald ash borer has abated.

After initially being discovered in June of 2002 near Detroit, Mich., the emerald ash borer has spread to 12 other states and two Canadian provinces.

Besides the ecological harm, the loss of ash trees is of economic concern since numerous forest products are derived from the species, including lumber for furniture, tool handles and baseball bats.

Based on similar procedures used on apple trees, it’s likely that ash budwood can be preserved for at least 20 years.

Minnesota spring wheat production down 19 percent

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, Minnesota spring wheat production is estimated at 82.2 million bushels, down 19 percent from 2008.

Spring wheat yields in Minnesota averaged 53 bushels per acre, down three bushels from last year.

Minnesota farmers harvested 1.55 million acres of spring wheat in 2009, down 14 percent from 2008.

Wes Nelson is executive director of the USDA Farm Service Agency in Kandiyohi County.

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