Crop insurance doesn't cover everything for cotton farmers - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

10/25/10

Crop insurance doesn't cover everything for cotton farmers

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Surveyors are still assessing the full extent of damage done to this year's cotton crop, following last week's hail storm. Federal crop insurance provides some peace of mind for farmers, but for some who hoped to cash in on this year's record breaking prices, that hope may be lost.

Federal crop insurance is required by many lenders for farmers taking out loans. Farmers say a common misconception is that it gives them all their money back. Insurers take a 10 year average of what farmers produce per field and insure that amount.

Anything lost above the insured amount, is gone. If a farmer had a potential crop of 1,500 pounds, and had 700 insured, anything over 700 pounds wouldn't be covered. Most farmers can only insure between 50 and 70% of their crop. This recent loss was a tough reality to face.

Farmer Ronald Jordan watches his three kids play outside his home. Jordan has made a life for his family from farming in Terry County. It was tough for him to survey the damage done after Thursday's storm.

"My first reaction was, I didn't really want to go look, but I knew I had to," Jordan continued. "In the 14 or 15 years that I've been farming I've never had this happen to me," he said.

Jordan says he has about 2500 acres. He figures he's lost about half of that to the storm. He won't know for sure until he hears from the insurance company. "They typically have to wait a week to 10 days before they can assess the damage."

His friend and neighbor Brent Hogue also farms in Terry County. Hogue worked until 1:00 a.m. the day before the storm. "We were doing all we could. Burning the midnight oil, so to speak; trying to get out as much as we could before what we thought was just going to be a general rain storm," Hogue said.

The damaged cotton remains on many of the plants, hanging by a thread. Now, the wind gusts threaten to make things worse. "You most certainly feel helpless because there's not anything you can do about I," Hogue continued. "I feel like it cost me between $40,000 and $60,000 dollars, and I was one of the fortunate ones," he said.

Both farmers say the loss will eventually affect everybody because now the farmers won't have that extra money to pump back into the economy. Jordan's already looking to next year as he farms other crops too. It's still hard for him to get over the loss of a crop that had so much potential.

"When you have as much money involved as we do in these crops, it's kind of like building a home, and coming home and your house is on fire," said Jordan.

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