Written by Hillsboro Free Press Wednesday, 09 May 2007 07:03Congressman Jerry Moran visited wheat fields in four Kansas counties April 30 to get a first-hand look at the damage caused by the Easter weekend freeze.
Moran said he wanted to “see and get a feel for what farmers are facing.”
Also on the tour were Rebecca Davis, director of the Risk Management Agency’s Topeka regional office, Jim Shroyer, extension agronomist at Kansas State University, and representatives of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers.
“The freeze stopped the main tillers in their tracks,” Shroyer said.
Once the main tillers were killed, the secondary tillers began to grow. These secondary tillers will produce a head; however, the yield loss will be significant, reducing some crops from more than 60-bushel averages to averages in the teens or below.
Shroyer also said that damage has been less significant in fields that were planted after about Oct. 15.
Two issues Moran discussed included crop insurance and disaster assistance. Moran said he was confident that disaster assistance would be passed soon.
“This is the third time this year I’ve asked for disaster assistance,” Moran said. “We are further along than we have ever been. I continue to believe we are going to get disaster assistance passed.”
The disaster package will give farmers the choice of the freeze damaged this year, or drought damage in 2005 or 2006.
Wheat growers in central Kansas probably received more damage from the freeze this year, while producers in western Kansas were hurt worse by drought in 2005 or 2006.
Moran also said he is pushing for common-sense reform to crop insurance and making sure adjusters are trained and prepared.
Some farmers may be planning to destroy the wheat from their damaged fields and plant a spring crop. According to Davis, there are several options under the second crop provision in various crop insurance policies. The maximum indemnity for insuring two crops on the land would be 135 percent.
Davis said, before any wheat is destroyed, farmers should notify their insurance agent to get the field released. Losses should also be reported to the Farm Service Agency, which administers and manages disaster and loan programs as laid out by Congress.