Wet weather pushing corn farmers past deadline for crop insurance

Posted at 10:39 PM, Jun 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-06 22:43:29-04

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. — Michigan corn farmers could lose out on crop insurance coverage if they didn’t have seeds in the ground by Wednesday’s deadline.

Many areas are still too wet preventing farmers from planting. Beginning Thursday, farmers who get crop insurance, or pay to have their plants protected against severe weather or decline in prices, could lose 1% of their per-acre coverage every day their land is bare.

On Wednesday, Coopersville farmer Marlin Langeland began planting for the first time this season.

"The challenge is we are a month behind, so we are trying to get a month’s worth of work done in the next week," Langeland explained.

He is like many farmers in West Michigan who have been delayed by the stretch of wet weather.

"I’m planting corn and that’s the one essential crop we need. With corn you need a certain amount of time, it takes all summer for it to grow. If you start a month late, it's in jeopardy of actually getting a ripe at harvest time," Langeland added.

The corn that Langeland grows will be feed for his dairy cows.

He doesn’t get insurance on his crop but those who do could be losing out soon.

Crop Insurance Specialist Matt Thelen estimates more than half the farmers in the state are still in a tough spot.

"I’d say at least 50% of farmers in the state are in this situation where they don’t have everything planted yet and are either  still waiting for things to dry out and get planted or are contemplating prevent plant options," Thelen explained.

Insured farmers who have not planted will lose coverage each day beginning Thursday, but they still have until the end of the month to file a claim that they are unable to plant.

"They can file for a prevented planting claim that will help indemnify them of most of their costs," Thelen added.

If farmers choose that route, they will not be able to plant any crop on those acres this season, or they can continue without coverage and hope for the best this fall.

This will all affect the market nationwide. With limited supply, cash croppers could make more money, but livestock farms who buy corn for feed would take a hit.

A similar deadline for soybean farmers is coming up on June 15.