The Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency is moving forward with reducing crop insurance rates for cropland protected by 28 levees in states bordering the Missouri River, impacting farmers in counties that experienced flooding due to levee breaches and extreme weather along the Missouri River in 2019.

“We added flexibility this year by adjusting premium rates if levee repairs are completed and certified before the Sales Closing Date or Earliest Planting Date.” RMA Administrator Martin Barbre said.

As of Thursday, RMA had approved reduced crop insurance rates for a total of 28 levee districts protecting cropland in the Midwest. Some 21 levees are in Missouri, four are in Iowa, two in Illinois, and one is in Nebraska.

The agency has been approving lower rates for levee districts that have been fully repaired, but cropland behind levees that are not repaired prior to RMA specifications may carry the highest premium rate classification in the county for the 2020 crop year.

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The certifications must be made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) or a state-licensed or registered engineer and the agency will adjust the premium rate according to the level of protection the levee repair provides.

Last year’s flooding caused more than 200 levee breaches on over 100 levee systems in the states above including Kansas, according to USDA.

RMA is encouraging farmers in the following counties with levee breaches to contact their crop insurance agent for more information:

  • Illinois – Alexander, Madison and Randolph;
  • Iowa – Fremont, Mills and Pottawattamie;
  • Kansas – Atchison, Doniphan, Leavenworth and Wyandotte;
  • Missouri – Atchison, Boone, Buchanan, Callaway, Carroll, Chariton, Clark, Cole, Cooper, Franklin, Gasconade, Holt, Howard, Jackson, Lewis, Lincoln, Marion, Moniteau, Osage, Pike, Platte, Ray, Saline, St. Charles, St. Genevieve, St. Louis and Warren;
  • Nebraska – Nemaha and Otoe. 

To date, RMA boasts 179,874 acres of land are now better protected and have reduced crop insurance rates due to USACE certifications and rate adjustments. RMA’s decision comes days before the deadline to update crop insurance policies or to apply for 2020 coverage, which ends Monday, March 16, for spring-planted crops.

USDA continues to update crop insurance rates as levees are certified as repaired.

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