Ag Secretary confident crop insurance claim pay-outs available

Thursday, November 8, 2012
U.S. Ag Secretary Vilsack

U.S. Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack says he's "very confident" adequate resources will be available to pay claims for this year's crop insurance coverage.

"We're really fortunate we have a strong crop insurance program," said Vilsack who was responding to a Daily Sentinel question during a weekend appearance in Sioux City.

"In 1988, the last time we had a drought, 25 percent of our producers had crop insurance," Vilsack said. "Today, 85 percent of our producers have it, and in the last 15 years there's been only one year when the industry lost money."

The nation's farmers are the very best, according to Vilsack.

"They've fortunately adopted new technology, new techniques," he said. "Even though the drought has obviously impacted yields, it's not going to be, I don't believe, quite as dire as a lot of people thought in the middle of the drought."

There still will be a corn crop nationally, and Iowa ranks 10th in the top 10 producing states," Vilsack said.

The nation's corn producers who opted last spring to insure their production at harvest levels are expected to receive insurance payments of $7.50 per bushel on their corn crops with a price of $15.39 per bushel for soybeans, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced last week.

Producers choosing to select non-harvest price coverage will receive $5.68 per bushel on corn and $12.55 on soybeans, according to the USDA.

Crop insurance payouts as of Oct. 29 were $3.5 billion nationally.

The figure includes $1.63 billion for corn and $247.6 million for soybeans, the most recent report stated.

Federal subsidies for U.S. crop insurance premiums this year total $6.9 billion, which is 62 percent of the $11.03 billion in premiums paid to insure all 2012 crops, the USDA reported.

The insurance is expected to cover field losses of 15 percent or more resulting from the 2012 drought.