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Cull Cow Management and Marketing Opportunities

Each year, cow-calf producers have a percentage of cows that are culled from the herd for various reasons. They may have been open at pregnancy check time, lost a calf, have reached a normal culling age, or faced drought conditions that forced an earlier or increased culling rate. No matter the reason for culling, it is important to evaluate the opportunity to add value to these females at marketing, as they can equate to 15-30% of the annual ranch income.

Considering the normal price cycle for cull cows, the seasonal low typically occurs in November as a result of increased numbers of spring-calving cows flooding the market following weaning and pregnancy check. The seasonal high typically occurs in July, but increases are also seen in early spring (April-May), providing the opportunity to market the cows during a different time point and capture additional value by feeding these cows for a period of 30 to 90 days after weaning.

Costs and Benefits of Feeding

There are both costs and benefits associated with feeding cows, and it is important to evaluate your individual situation to determine whether it is feasible for your operation. Some of the questions to consideration are: Do I have the pen or pasture space to manage these cows? What feed resources can I allocate to this group? Will feeding equipment be available? Do I have the time and labor resources to feed this group of cattle? Those are just a few things to think about. The potential benefits of feeding cows include three main factors: additional weight gain, which can translate into more pounds to sell; improved body condition score (BCS) and slaughter grade, which would add value; and seasonal price increase coupled with the other two factors, which could further increase value.

Weigh your options with your cull cows. Canva photo

Additional weight gain will vary based on multiple factors, specifically what condition the cows are in at the beginning of the feeding phase. Take time to evaluate each animal and determine whether they are healthy, with sound feet and legs, and in good condition. If they are not healthy, it is better to sell her rather than risk her dying during the feeding phase. Only healthy cows should be fed. Cows in a BCS of <6 will gain more weight faster than their more-heavily conditioned counterparts at BCS 7 or 8. The type of diet these cows are fed will also play a role in how fast they gain condition and will influence cost.

–SDSU Extension

North Dakota, South Dakota, extend hay hauling hours

Governor Noem Signs Executive Order to Increase Flexibility in Hay Hauling, following North Dakota’s similar efforts

South Dakota On September 15, 2021, Governor Kristi Noem signed Executive Order 2021-13, which extends the timeframe that hay haulers may move hay to 2 hours before sunrise and 2 hours after sunset.

As drought conditions continue to negatively impact feed availability for livestock across South Dakota, this order will increase access to hay for farmers and ranchers. Under statute, hay haulers are typically only allowed to move hay a half-hour before sunrise and a half-hour after sunset.

The order applies to oversize hay haulers who have a permit. These haulers must be properly equipped with warning lights, and they cannot run overweight.

Resources are available to producers in need of hay. South Dakota State University helps producers get connected to suppliers, and you can learn more about that here.

North Dakota

Gov. Doug Burgum on Aug. 9, 2021, signed an executive order waiving hours of service restrictions for drivers of commercial vehicles transporting hay, water and livestock to help livestock producers battling extreme drought conditions across North Dakota.

Drought conditions continue to worsen across North Dakota, with the latest U.S. Drought Monitor rating 14% of North Dakota in exceptional drought, 46% in extreme drought, 38% in severe drought and 2% in moderate drought. The National Weather Service predicts drought will persist through August and into the fall.

The order, issued in consultation with state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, will remain in effect for 30 days. All road safety and vehicle compliance regulations still apply. The executive order serves as a permit and must be carried in vehicles operating under the hours of service waiver. A copy of the order can be found on the Governor’s Office website here.

Montana

On July 10, Governor Gianforte issued an executive order to permit a number of activities to help mitigate drought impacts for farmers and ranchers.

Several notable aspects to the executive order include:

Executive Order 11-2021 directs the Departments of Agriculture, Livestock, and Natural Resources and Conservation to provide maximum assistance to the U.S. Department of Agriculture on drought-related activities to secure timely economic assistance from the federal government.

It also suspends regulations for motor carriers and persons operating commercial vehicles while they provide direct drought-related support.

•In accordance with 61-10-111, MCA and other applicable statutes, applicable farm vehicles in Montana are exempt from the 20 percent limits of 61-10-144(3), MCA, and aauthorize the operation of vehicles on non-interstate highways is authorized without incurring excess weight penalties under 61-10-145, MCA, if the total gross weight of the combination, each axle, or axle group does not exceed allowable weight limitations by more than 30 percent.

•In accordance with 61-10-111, MCA and other applicable statutes, applicable vehicles in Montana are exempt from the 10 percent limits of 61-10-144(2), MCA and the operation of vehicles on non-interstate highways is authorized without incurring excess weight penalties under 61-10-145, MCA, if the total gross weight of the combination, each axle, or axle group does not exceed allowable weight limitations by more than 20 percent.

 

–State of South Dakota, State of North Dakota, State of Montana

Senators’ bill would allow farmers emergency haying during drought

Sens. Tina Smith, D-Minn., and John Thune, R-S.D., on Wednesday introduced bipartisan legislation to allow future emergency haying on federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land.

Currently, emergency haying on CRP land is not allowed until after the primary nesting season, which ends August 1 in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota. The senators’ CRP Flexibility Act would give USDA the tools to allow emergency haying on CRP acres before August 1 when certain conditions are met and in consultation with the state conservation experts.

Reps. Angie Craig, D-Minn., and Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., introduced a House companion bill previously.

“Right now, over 70% of Minnesota is experiencing a severe drought, and it’s quickly worsening with the current hot weather,” said Smith. “This is devastating for our cattle producers, who are running out of hay to feed their herds. When severe droughts hit, the USDA should have the tools to allow farmers to access reserve land for haying. This will lessen the impact on the farm economy.”

–The Hagstrom Report

Western state lawmakers urge USDA to support more drought relief for producers

Western legislators led by Reps. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., and Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., wrote to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday, urging USDA to provide additional relief to farmers and ranchers impacted by historic drought.

The letter also encourages USDA to work with Congress to provide technical assistance as lawmakers craft additional authorities and appropriations to address the 2020 and 2021 seasons that include wildfire, drought, and excessive heat-related losses.

“Although the extent of damages relating to the extreme heat has yet to be fully determined, agricultural producers expect these impacts to be severe,” the lawmakers wrote. “We respectfully request USDA explore all potential flexibilities for additional relief within existing programs and identify other options to deliver federal relief to producers in our states so they have the resources to overcome the extreme drought and heat crisis.”

RMA eases requirements for farmers needing drought relief

 

The Agriculture Department’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) will authorize Approved Insurance Providers (AIPs) to extend deadlines for premium and administrative fee payments, defer and waive the resulting interest accrual and allow other flexibilities to help farmers and ranchers through widespread drought conditions.

Producers now have additional time to pay premium and administrative fees, and interest will be waived for 60 days or the termination date on the policy, whichever comes first. RMA also authorized AIPs to waive interest for an additional 60 days for Written Payment Agreements due between August 1 and September 30, 2021.

“Farmers and ranchers are weathering tough drought conditions this year, and we want to help ease the burden by extending payment deadlines and deferring interest accrual,” RMA Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy said. “USDA is using all of the tools in the toolbox to help producers amid the drought, including these crop insurance flexibilities.”

–The Hagstrom Report

Drought forcing cattle sales

After hail, flooding, a severe drought and a depressed market – all within months – Mike Kertzman says his days of ranching might be numbered.

“I live in hail alley, I’m used to tough weather, I get it all,” he said. A 10-inch rain and numerous rounds of hail stressed his corn this spring. But ironically the biggest stressor he’s dealing with is drought on his rented pasture just 25 miles away.

He puts up hay and plants corn for silage on his home place, near Hazelton, North Dakota which is about 50 miles south east of Bismark. He pastures his cattle on rented ground 25 miles to the south and 25 miles to the west. Much of his alfalfa was killed by the flooding, and the low-lying hayfield is covered with cornstalks and other material he said, but he is putting up the available grass for hay.

Trying to preserve his grass and keep his cattle in good shape, Kertzman sold his younger cows with calves at side before turnout.

“I sold about 200 pairs. We dried up last summer, so our pastures were pretty bad to begin with. I didn’t want to overload everything. I started off selling all my replacements,” he said. Then, soon, he hauled his 2-6 year old cows as pairs. The market was tough, in large part because the drought is so wide-spread. “This drought is so wide and has hit so big of an area, that’s the worst,” he said.

“I sold them all. I took a devastating hit. I don’t think I’ll ever recover from this one, this will be the end of it,” he said, fearing that he won’t be able to afford to buy cows when the rain comes.

“I’m already financially hurting from the pressure of years with high prices, and then all of the sudden, prices went way down.”

Mike Kerzman proactively sold all of his younger cows in an effort to protect his grass and keep his older cows healthy. He said the past several years of tough market conditions have taken a toll on his profitability. Photo by Mike Kertzman

Kertzman bought cows in 2014 when the market was high, hoping to capitalize on what many experts predicted would be a multi-year run of strong cattle prices. “There was talk that the market was supposed to hang in there for a while. I was doing fine, everything was working, then all of the sudden the market fell out from under us, and there you are. You can’t do this stuff without equipment. I run pretty hard, it’s just me, I do a lot of all day and all night work, I need good equipment.”

With less hay than usual, and limited and expensive hay availability on the market, the future looks tough, he said.

 

“Who knows what’s going to happen. I don’t think there will be enough feed. What do we do next year? If we don’t get a bunch of snow or rain or something, there ain’t going to be grass next year either. Basically, we’re in a two year drought right now,” Kertzman said.

McHenry County, North Dakota, in the north central part of the state, is considered to be in “exceptional drought,” the worst drought rating.

A representative for the USDA Farm Service Agency in that county said some of their producers have signed up for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, which is only available to producers in a qualifying drought area. The program is intended to provide assistance to producers whose grass or other forage is significantly reduced due to drought. The payment depends upon the severity and length of the drought as reported by USDA.


Rick Bostyan, the Vice President of First State Bank of Beach and Golva, North Dakota, which are on the far west side of the state, said he hopes ranchers take advantage of that USDA program. He also fears some ranchers who have sold significant numbers of cows won’t be able to buy back in anytime soon.

“Things are tight already. The sad thing is, some of these producers, they were borrowing money from the time they sold their last calf crop. There are going to be some hard decisions made as far as what you will spend to keep your cattle on your place,” he said.

“Where we’re sitting right now, we’re very, very dry. No one believes the pastures are going to last long enough to get the calves to weaning, a lot of them are making plans now to either wean early to hopefully get some pressure off the cows.

“As far as culling cows, they’ve done some already but I think we’ll see an increased cull rate once the calves are off, too,” he said.

 

Buying enough hay to winter cows, without selling down to reduce numbers, might be risky, he said, but he hopes to see some government assistance so that ranchers can buy enough hay to at least keep their foundation herds intact.

As for government price support for the cattle being sold, he fears a program like that could be difficult to administer fairly.

“By the time it (hay) is shipped out here, it’s going to be well over $200 per ton and I don’t think most of the ranches can support that kind of price. It would help if we got assistance like we got a few years ago where they covered trucking for this hay,” he said, referencing a state program spearheaded by the Secretary of Agriculture, Doug Goehring. He also said a boost to the existing Livestock Forage Disaster Program under FSA could be helpful. “If they could possibly increase that amount, I think that would be a fairer way to do it,” he said.

Independent Beef Association of North Dakota President Kerry Dockter said he would like to see some additional assistance for producers buying more feed than usual, and he stressed the need for the assistance to come quickly.

He mentioned that some ranchers are asking neighboring farmers if they can put up droughted out wheat for hay. “That wheat is starting to turn, soon there is going to be nothing but straw and there is very little in the heads. There is a short window of time to get it up,” he said.

“The point is if they are going to make it available, they need to make it available fast,” he said.

Dockter said, with feed assistance, maybe more producers could secure the hay needed to hold onto the nucleus of their cowherds.

Perhaps through the infrastructure support bill being discussed in Congress, financial help should be offered to ranchers selling cows, he said. “Maybe make something available as strictly cow-calf producers that they will be able to get funding to get back into the business and hopefully the business will be profitable like it’s supposed to be.” Dockter said some kind of price support for those ranchers who sold cows this spring, or will sell producing (not cull) cows this fall could prop them up so they are in a position to buy cows back when they get moisture. One idea would be for the federal government to kick in the difference between the actual price of the cow, and profitable price. If it is determined that pairs should have been worth $2,100 this spring, and a producer sold pairs for $1,200, he or she would get the price difference in the form of a federal subsidy.

Because the cattle market has been strained for several years, a long-term solution to the market woes would help take pressure off producers, said Dockter.

“At the national level, we’re trying to limit packer concentration and allow feeders and producers to capture some of that profit that is stuck on the packers’ side,” he said, referencing packer profit margins of over $1,000 per head for the past several months.

“You spend a lifetime working on a herd that works for you in your geographical location and that you’re proud of. You can’t build that back in a couple years’ time,” said Dockter.

Mike Kertzman of Hazelton, North Dakota, says he enjoys hard work, but he believes ranchers ought to be paid a fair price for their cattle in order to keep American ranchers viable. Photo courtesy Kertzman

Kertzman echoed the challenges of tough markets.

“As long as they let the packers do what they want, this price is never going to get better,” he said.

“It’s legalized crime. The anti-competitive pricing. They (elected officials) aren’t doing anything about it. They don’t think they need us (ranchers.) They need grain farmers, that is where this country’s main borrowing power is,” Kertzman said.

“For what they are paying us for our cattle, beef should be affordable, people should be eating beef every day.”

Kertzman has been involved in value-added programs to capture the worth of his calves, and he has retained ownership on his steers, finishing them through a Kansas feeder, but still, the low market combined with the drought has strained him to a breaking point.

“It takes too many years to rebound when you have a bad ond in the cattle industry,” he said.

“Just pay us for what we do. I just want a fair price. I don’t want government help, I’m not a big fan of that stuff,” Kertzman said. “Why do we take a 25- 30 percent increase in groceries or parts and we’re taking a 25-30 percent decrease in the product we sell? That’s not right.”

“Basically, all I have left is my older cows, my foundation herd,” Kertzman said.

“It’s not the bank’s fault, it’s just the way it is. I thank God that I had an awesome bank to work with. They are awesome, they tried to help, but nothing worked. That’s the worst thing, nothing worked,” said Kertzman.

Mike Kertzman, wife Kristy and sons Colton and Brently. Kertzman wonders if there is hope for his sons to make a living ranching someday. Photo courtesy Mike Kertzman

Bostyan reminds producers that the drought is no fault of theirs. “I’m a rancher myself. I tell our producers, This is something that isn’t their fault. It’s not a management issue, it’s weather. We don’t have to fine tune their management, just give them some options and decide what works best for them.”

“We’re just to the edge of this, we’ll see in another month, if a lot of cattle are going to market,” he said. •

 

 

State Board of Animal Health grants summer grazing exemption due to drought

BISMARCK – The North Dakota State Board of Animal Health granted a summer grazing exemption at their recent board meeting due to the widespread drought in North Dakota.

The exemption reads as follows:

Cattle are allowed to move out of state for grazing to another state of destination with an Interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (ICVI), with official identifications (IDs) listed on the ICVI and a statement on the ICVI that the cattle will not be comingled with other out of state cattle and will return to North Dakota after the summer.

To return to North Dakota, a new ICVI is needed, and the original ICVI number must be referenced as well, which included the head count and individual official IDs.

The state of destination’s import requirements must be met. All brand inspection requirements must also be met.

The exemption will help producers avoid having to make their cattle go through the chute and have the tags read prior to returning, when not comingled and out of state for summer grazing. To return to North Dakota, a new certificate is needed but cattle do not need to be individually handled to read ID. Concerns or questions should be directed to the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s Animal Health Division at 701-328-2655.

–North Dakota Department of Agriculture

ND Secretary of Agriculture Doug Goehring addresses drought issues

BISMARCK, N.D. – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has requested the early release of emergency haying on acres enrolled in all Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contract types from United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack due to the drought. No response has been received.

Emergency haying on acres enrolled in CRP typically does not open until after Primary Nesting Season (PNS) ends. North Dakota’s PNS ends Aug. 1, while Montana’s ends July 15, which is why some confusion has arisen due to Montana producers being able to conduct emergency haying.

“We have been receiving daily calls asking about the early release of emergency haying on CRP lands. I have requested that USDA allow emergency haying on CRP lands enrolled in all contract types starting as soon as possible to maintain some of the nutritional quality of the hay that is harvested,” Goehring said. “In order for our livestock producers to make it through this disaster, it is necessary to marshal every available resource.”

Goehring has also been exploring options for a program to assist eligible producers with feed transportation expenses.

–ND Secretary of Agriculture

Montana Farm Bureau leaders meet with agency leaders in nation’s capital

It’s been 16 months since Montana Farm Bureau leaders headed to Washington, D.C. to attend important meetings, instead turning to their computers to continue the dialogue. Montana Farm Bureau President Hans McPherson and Vice President Cyndi Johnson traveled to the capital city July 12-14, 2021 for American Farm Bureau’s Council of Presidents. Fifty state Farm Bureau presidents, along with Puerto Rico, gathered together to discuss essential agricultural issues and meet with top agency personnel.

“We received updates from American Farm Bureau staff regarding immigration, labor, and livestock issues, as well as the right to repair your own farm machinery, infrastructure and taxes,” noted McPherson. “The key takeaway is Farm Bureau is a non-partisan organization and we are committed to advocating for agriculture with whomever is in control. Now it’s the Biden Administration, and it was informative to learn what they view as positive changes and things they plan to do for agriculture.”

The group heard from EPA Administrator Michael Regan, Department of Agriculture Deputy Director Jewel Bronaugh, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Chair of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Ag Committee member Senator John Boozman (R-AR).

“We talked about the harm in reinstating Water of the U.S., and the clarity farmers need for changing those water rules again,” said McPherson.

During their time in D.C., McPherson and Johnson visited the Montana Congressional Delegation, visiting with Senator Steve Daines, talking with Senator Jon Tester and his staff, and discussing issues with Representative Matt Rosendale’s staff.

“We certainly thanked them for their work in D.C., with one specific issue we covered was expanding the distance a rancher can go with his semi and still not need a CDL,” McPherson said. “Because of the drought, our ranchers are going to have to drive a lot farther than 200 miles for hay. It’s a federal issue, so that rule needs to be changed on a federal level.”

Drought was on everyone’s mind at the meeting, especially with presidents from the western states.

“There are many creative ideas discussed about what we could do to help our livestock producers deal with the drought and hay shortage,” said Johnson. “One idea was to have the grain reserves, as well as government powdered milk reserves, be used for animal feed and then replenished. We learned that many state presidents have been in close contact with all of their county presidents to develop ideas of getting through the drought. We discussed Farm Bureau’s Farm State of Mind resource to help farmers and ranchers across the country find mental health resources in their states.”

Johnson and McPherson agreed it was great to be meeting in person again. “It’s so good to spend time with other leaders across the country face-to-face and share concerns, ideas and simply catching up,” concluded McPherson.

Photos: Montana Farm Bureau President Hans McPherson, left, along with MFBF Vice President Cyndi Johnson and Senator Steve Daines, visit about ideas to help farmers and ranchers endure the drought.

Montana Farm Bureau President Hans McPherson, left, Vice President Cyndi Johnson and Senator Jon Tester.

–Montana Farm Bureau

Are you sure? Protecting your operation with the right insurance

The challenges severe weather brings to America’s farmers and ranchers on any given day can define their ability to keep their business in operation for generations to come. The question becomes, how much risk is an owner is willing to take on?

With a battling drought covering a majority of the western and midwest states, the heat of summer drones on and producers should educate themselves on what their current insurance policies offer in the form of protection and just as importantly, what isn’t protected.

A third generation rancher, Josh Geigle, owner of Bell Bar Ranch, located near Wall, South Dakota witnessed the historic, devastating blizzard of 2013 and is now living through the worsening drought conditions, leaving crop fields and grazing pastures sparse.

As Geigle transitions into being the third generation to manage his family’s cow calf and farming operation, he has learned how to walk the fine line of investing in quality insurance coverage and uncontrollable risk.

“There is a misconception with insurance – a person buys insurance for the bad weather events, and in the back of your mind, you think it will make your bottom line whole, but you know it won’t,” Geigle mentions. “By purchasing a good insurance policy, it’s going to cover the expenses, so you can stay in business and try again next year.”

Geigle works closely with the Crew Agency, LTD, located in Philip, South Dakota specializing in Agri-Risk Management, providing crop and livestock insurance coverage to ranchers and farmers in the state.

Taylor Mohnen, owner and agent of Crew Agency, LTD understands how much of a factor severe weather can affect a producer’s bottomline. “Step one – to any insurance policy is to incorporate the proper policy as a foundational part of your business plan,” Mohnen outlines.

Mohnen encourages producers to be proactive with their insurance agent to ask the needed questions, and learn all of the options. “Understanding what it costs and knowing what is feasible, will be the best way to educate yourself on all policies,” Mohnen says.

The power of three – a producer, insurance agent, and a banker will continue to keep America’s family-owned farms in business.

“A producer also needs a good banker to know where the break-even point is along with the uncontrollable weather factors and market voility,” Mohnen says.

Livestock Risk Protection

A popular policy coverage Mohnen and his team have worked with many local ranchers on this year is the Livestock Risk Protection (LRP) insurance policy. This policy is designed to help ranchers lock in a floor price, protection of a decline in prices, on purchased feeder cattle.

LRP Facts:

●Coverage prices range from 70-99.9% of daily livestock prices figured from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

●The Government subsidizes premiums 35-55% depending on coverage level.

●Producer must own the cattle.

●Producer chooses an insurance period of 13, 17, 21, 26, 30, 34, 39, 43, 47 or 52 weeks out. All periods are not available all the time.

●If a producer sells insured cattle more than 60 days prior to the end date of the contract, the contract becomes null and void and premium is not refunded.

●Actual loss will be the ending value figured on CMF Feeder cattle cash settled index for that particular end date.

Because of the market voility in feeder cattle, Geigle himself has invested in the LRP policy to serve as a blanket of risk protection for his cow-calf operation.

“We have about 180 cows, and I usually buy it [LRP] on a 100 head of calves just to be cautious,” Geigle explains. “So, if it costs you $35 a head, that’s $3500 you have to pay for. If the market falls and you get your premium back, maybe plus some, but for a family of five, $3500 can cover a lot in living expenses.”

Geigle understands the risks on both sides and relies heavily on the information sourced from his insurance agent to make the smart investment.

“That is the struggle, is knowing which policy you should invest in,” Geigle says.

Pasture Fire Coverage

The Pasturage Fire program provides coverage to perennial pasture, and rangeland against defined fire losses. Coverage of a pasture ground is figured by dollars per the actual value of an acre.

Coverage and loss example:

200 acres of pasturage valued at $10.00 per acre

200 x $10.00 = $2,000

$2,000 x $1.50 rate = $30.00 premium

Fire destroys 175 aces of pasturage

175 acres $10.00 per acre = $1,750 loss

$1,750 – $100 deductible = $1,650 loss payment

Policies and rates may vary by region, with higher rates in fire-prone states. There is a $100 deductible, ranchers can choose their level of coverage. This insurance is not a federally subsidized product, it is considered a private product.

There is also a pasture and grain fire policy, which covers any type of fire, no matter how it is started. However, this would not cover any outside buildings, such as barns or corrals. Typically, outside structures would be covered in one’s property and casualty insurance policy.

Having Faith and Trust

“Even though everyone [farmers and ranchers] have the same mission, we all have different resources,” Geigle points out. “Each person has to decide how much risk they are willing to take on or do they balance that risk by purchasing an insurance policy.”

The best strategy for producers to take is to be proactive and stay in contact with your local agent to learn what policy is the best fit for your operation and what is covered within it.

“We want to help young farmers and ranchers get into the agricultural industry and stay in for generations to come,” Mohnen says. “But to do that, every situation is different.”

By working with the right key players, doing the research, and having an ounce of faith, America’s farmers and ranchers will make it through these harsh weather conditions.

“Sometimes, you just have to have a good faith in the good Lord above, that he’ll provide for you,” Geigle remarks.

To research more information on LPR, visit, www.rma.usda.gov and learn more about the Pasture Fire program, visit your local insurance agent.

________________________________________

Publication: TSLN paper

Assignment: Farm/Ranch insurance – what is covered, what is not, and how can ranchers remember everything that they need to list on their policies?

Deadline: June 29 if possible

Print Date: July 3

Sources: An insurance agent- let me know if you need help finding one

Words: 800-1,000

Photos: Probably not necessary

Summary/Angle: With the hot, dry summer upon us, fires are inevitable.

It would be good to remind our readers that they may want to check their farm insurance policy to see what is covered, particularly for fire but also flood, hail, wind and other summertime disasters.

How about livestock (is it even possible to insure livestock against fire or hail or flood?) How can they remember to get “everything” on the list?

Insurance ?

Josh Giggle, (605) 441- 4602 – jngeigle@hotmail.com

Bell Bar Ranch

-Crew agency – cactus flat, 605-433-5411 (main office)

-Policies I do have is the livestock risk protection – LRP – by contract on calves – sets the price floor, $25 – gives you market protection, sends out offers on calves based on weight calves,

-180 cows, usually buy on a 100 head of calves to be cautious, if the market falls, you get your premium, for a family 5, 3500 goes a longs ways,

-Good faith

-Everyone has different resources, and how much risk they are willing to take on themselves or do they balance that risk by buying an insurance policy.

Quotes from Josh:

Josh Geigle, third generation rancher – Bell Bar Ranch, (Wall SD)

My great grandfather homesteaded the place back in 1907, a ranch that has been handed down from generation to generation, currently a cow calf enterprise operation, corn, winter wheat, forage crops to help get through the drought.

Our county is in D2, doesn’t represent how dry it actually is,

Experienced the blizzard of fall, 2013,

Farm insurance – did benefit from?

Transition and take over, from my dad’s experience in the past, he’s always carried hail insurance on his grain crops and there’s been year’s in the past we’ve had 85% damage on our wheat crop. He got a check, did it make him whole? No, but it did allow him to play again next year –

Some of the policies I do have knowledge on is the livestock risk protection – LRP

That is where you can buy a contract on your calves, it’s a policy that sets a floor on calves, it usually costs somewhere between $25-40 dollars per calf, pending on what level of protection you purchase. It basically gives you market protection, send out offers on different size of offers on weight classes and what they are willing to lock a price in on for – closing date,

For me, we have about 180 cows, I usually buy it on a 100 head of calves just to be cautious, if it costs you $35 a head, that’s $3500 you have to pay for. If the market falls, you get your premium back, maybe plus some, but for a family of five, $3500 goes a long way in living expenses, that’s the struggle is knowing which policy you should buy and which you shouldn’t.

Sometimes you just have to have a good faith in the good lord above that he’ll provide for you.

Every farmer and rancher, even though they do things similar, their resources are different. Everyone had a different financial situation where they’re at in their life, each person has to decide how much risk they are willing to take on or do they balance that risk by buying an insurance policy. It’s different for everyone.

Taylor Mohnen

Crew Agency LTD – Agri-Risk Management

Step 1 proper policies – part of your business plan (7:18)

Haystacks –

Stay in contact with their agents, what’s covered and what isn’t

Be pro-active, don’t be afraid to call an agent and ask questions and what they offer

See what it costs and what it’s feasible to – be on the project active said

Education yourself as much as you can – we want to help these guys and young people to get in and stay in long term for generations like local ranchers – to do that, every situation is different. You have a good banker to know the break even point and break even, weather, market voility, education yourself on what is available and see what’s offered – benefits to a

Beginning farmer/rancher in the farm bill

Premium discounts – available through a crop agent –

Livestock risk protection on calves – 13:00 get a bottom locked in and comfort of mind

Drought and risk – pasture fire and LRP

Find out what is covered on their policy?

Haystack covered? Hay – way expensive this year

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USDA Offers Disaster Assistance to Montana Farmers and Livestock Producers Impacted by Drought

BOZEMAN, Mont., July 15, 2021 – Montana agricultural operations have been significantly impacted by the ongoing, severe drought. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has technical and financial assistance available to help farmers and livestock producers recover. As agricultural producers move into recovery mode and assess damages, they should contact their local USDA Service Center to report losses and learn more about program options available to assist in their recovery from crop, land, infrastructure and livestock losses and damages.

“Unfortunately, conditions continue to deteriorate across Montana with more than half of the state experiencing severe to extreme drought,” said Gloria Montaño Greene as Deputy Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC). “I am thankful that USDA can step in with disaster assistance programs designed to alleviate some of the financial impact experienced by agricultural producers suffering drought losses.”

USDA Disaster Assistance for Drought Recovery

Producers who experience livestock deaths and feed losses due to natural disasters may be eligible for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP). This program also provides eligible producers with compensation for expenses associated with transporting water to livestock physically located in a county that is designated as level “D3 Drought – Extreme” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. For ELAP, producers will need to file a notice of livestock loss within 30 days and honeybee losses within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent.

Livestock producers may also be eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) for 2021 grazing losses due to drought. LFP benefits may be available for grazing acres losses due to wildfires on federally managed lands on which a producer is prohibited, by a federal agency, from grazing normally permitted livestock.

Additionally, emergency haying and grazing of CRP acres may be authorized (outside of the primary nesting season) to provide relief to livestock producers in areas affected by a severe drought or similar natural disaster. Emergency haying and grazing status is reviewed and authorized each Thursday using the U.S. Drought monitor. Counties are approved for emergency haying and grazing due to drought conditions on a county by county basis, when a county is designated as level “D2 Drought – Severe” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

Eligible orchardists and nursery tree growers may be eligible for cost-share assistance through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) to replant or rehabilitate eligible trees, bushes or vines lost during the drought. This complements Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) or crop insurance coverage, which covers the crop but not the plants or trees in all cases. For TAP, a program application must be filed within 90 days.

“As soon as you can evaluate drought impact on your operation, be sure to contact your local FSA office to timely report all crop, livestock and farm infrastructure damages and losses,” said Les Rispens, acting state executive director for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) in Montana. “To expedite FSA disaster assistance, you will likely need to provide documents, such as farm records, herd inventory, receipts and pictures of damages or losses”

FSA also offers a variety of direct and guaranteed loans, including operating and emergency loans, to producers unable to secure commercial financing. Producers in counties with a primary or contiguous disaster designation may be eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Loans can help producers replace essential property, purchase inputs like livestock, equipment, feed and seed, cover family living expenses or refinance farm-related debts and other needs.

Risk Management

Producers who have risk protection through Federal Crop Insurance or FSA’s NAP should report crop damage to their crop insurance agent or FSA office, respectively. If they have crop insurance, producers should report crop damage to their agent within 72 hours of damage discovery and follow up in writing within 15 days. For NAP covered crops, a Notice of Loss (CCC-576) must be filed within 15 days of the loss becoming apparent, except for hand-harvested crops, which should be reported within 72 hours.

“Crop insurance and other USDA risk management options are there to help producers manage risk because we never know what nature has in store for the future,” said Eric Bashore, director of RMA’s Regional Office that covers Montana. “The Approved Insurance Providers, loss adjusters and agents are experienced and well trained in handling these types of events.”

Additionally, RMA authorized emergency procedures earlier this month to help agricultural producers impacted by extreme drought conditions. Emergency procedures allow insurance companies to accept delayed notices of loss in certain situations, streamline paperwork, and reduce the number of required representative samples when damage is consistent. Read more in RMA’s July 13, 2021 news release.

Conservation

FSA offers the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) and Emergency Forest Restoration Program to assist landowners and forest stewards with financial and technical assistance to restore fencing, damaged farmland or forests.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is always available to provide technical assistance in the recovery process by assisting producers to plan and implement conservation practices on farms, ranches and working forests impacted by natural disasters.

Long-term damage from drought includes forage production loss in pastures and fields and increased wind erosion on crop fields not protected with soil health practices. Visit your local USDA Service Center to learn more about these impacts, potential recovery tactics, and how to take steps to make your land more resilient to drought in the future.

“Our staff will work one-on-one with landowners to make assessments of the damages and develop approaches that focus on effective recovery of the land to keep working lands working and help to maintain the economic sustainability of many of our rural communities,” said Tom Watson, NRCS state conservationist in Montana.

More Information

On farmers.gov, the Disaster Assistance Discovery Tool, Disaster-at-a-Glance fact sheet, and Farm Loan Discovery Tool can help producers and landowners determine program or loan options. For assistance with a crop insurance claim, producers and landowners should contact their crop insurance agent. For FSA and NRCS assistance, they should contact their local USDA Service Center.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

–USDA