Every spring and early summer, heavy rains, hail, and tornadoes force Midwest farmers into a game of “Crop Insurance Mother May I” regarding whether they will replant damaged crops. For crop insurance purposes, permission is almost always necessary when deciding whether to destroy and replant the damaged crop or destroy the damaged crop and plant a new crop.
When facing a replant decision remember the following:
“When a crop is damaged and it is “Practical to Replant,” the crop must be replanted in order to maintain insurability. Acres damaged after the final planting date must not be released for other use UNTIL it is no longer practical to replant.” 2014 Loss Adjustment Manual (LAM) P. 211
If the adjuster determines it is practical to replant, and the insured does not replant or plants to another crop the insurance provider will not pay an indemnity on the acreage and will revise the acreage report to designate such acreage as uninsurable. LAM 2014 P. 213.
There is no black and white definition for “Practical to Replant”; rather it is a subjective term of art in crop insurance. In determining whether acres are practical to replant the adjuster will look to “moisture availability, marketing window, condition of the field, and time to crop maturity It will be considered to be practical to replant regardless of availability of seed or plants or the inputs costs necessary to produce the insured crop”. LAM 2014 P. 211.
The producer must provide notice to and receive permission from the insurance provider before destroying and replanting the original crop. While certain crops allow for self-certification for replant, the producer still needs to receive authorization from the adjuster prior to destroying and replanting the crop. ADM Crop Risk Services 2014 MPCI Replant Guidelines.
Permission is also required where the producer want to plant a different crop. The adjuster must determine the acres are not practical to replant and must release the acres for planting another crop or other use. The insurability of the second crop is determined in accordance to the applicable policy provisions. LAM 2014 Pg. 214
The RMA is cracking down on replanting decisions and have warned adjusters to “be cautious about prematurely determining acres are not practical to replant.” LAM 2014 Pg. 213.
In the end, the producer owns the land and has to choice whether to replant, plant another crop, or leave the field fallow. However, if the producer wants to maintain crop insurance on the damaged acres, he will first have to ask Mother May I.