Recent rains and thunderstorms indicate it’s time to protect investments in grain, hay and other crops by purchasing crop hail insurance.
Producers can insure non-irrigated crops for up to $50 an acre and irrigated crops for up to $76 an acre under limits authorized by the Montana Legislature. High input costs for fuel, seed and fertilizer add to the risks farmers face when planting crops. State hail insurance can help minimize those risks, says Ron de Yong, director of the Montana Department of Agriculture, which administers the program.
Montana is the only state to operate a state hail insurance program. The program is self-sustaining, and by law returns 1.5 percent of paid premiums to the state general fund. In addition to grain and hay, the program has policies to cover camelina, chickpeas, sugar beets and fruit including cherries, apples and grapes.
In December 2010, the Board of Hail Insurance approved a refund of 10 percent of the premiums paid last year. Despite a relatively high incidence of hail losses for the year, the board concluded that reserves were sufficient to cover loses and still issue a modest refund. The program issued 2,178 hail insurance policies for the crop year, covering slightly more than 1.9 million acres.
For more information about state hail insurance, contact the Montana Department of Agriculture’s hail specialist at (406) 444-2402 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.