Heavy rains and flooding that occurred in South Carolina in early October caused major crop losses to the Palmetto State's farmers —more than $376 million worth — and the state's agriculture sector as a whole lost $587 million.
Thousands of acres of soybeans, cotton and peanuts were lost.
As farmers began dealing with their losses, they had to navigate the often-confusing federally-controlled crop insurance system. To assist them, South Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers requested a meeting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA). The meeting was held November 20, during which time farmers spoke with RMA leaders.
The RMA is the agency that authorizes crop insurance policies held by South Carolina's farmers. Recently, a memo was distributed to the farmers to clarify some frequently-asked questions about their losses.
"Crop insurance is not designed to protect farmers from the unprecedented size and scope of losses due to the flood and subsequent rain events," Weathers said. "These procedural clarifications from RMA will hopefully help South Carolina farmers on the road to recovery."
Topics covered included how insurance adjusters determine whether or not crops are or will remain unable to be harvested mechanically; that claims can be finalized and acreage released before they are harvested or destroyed; how to conduct reconciliation of appraised and actual production and settlement of indemnities; and how to proceed with harvesting prior to and after the end of an insurance period.