These include planting an approved variety, using approved practices, completing required activities and filing necessary reports, and appropriately caring for the insured crop, reporting losses in a timely manner.
For some crops, only specific varieties for hybrids are automatically approved for insurance coverage. For example, flint, four, blue, Indian corn, or open pollinated corn are not automatically insurable with a corn APH policy, but required a written agreement (contact a crop insurance agent for details). Furthermore, corn maturity restrictions apply. In some northern Wisconsin counties, planting a corn variety with too long of a maturity date makes the crop uninsurable. Some practices are also not acceptable; in particular, some double cropping practices. For example, a producer who takes an early cutting of alfalfa and then plants corn cannot have APH coverage for the corn acres. It is the producer’s responsibility to ensure that the specific variety or type of crop planted is insurable and to use approved practices.
Acreage reports are due on the day specified for each crop. These reports must include all of a producer's acreage of the insured crop planted (even if uninsured), the producer's share, the applicable practice and type, and the date the insured crop was planted. In all cases of late planting, prevented planting, and replanting, the acreage report must reflect the actual acres planted and the date of planting. Keeping a log of the location and acres planted each day is useful, particularly when planting during the late planting period.
Producers are expected to use "good farming practices" that are "generally recognized by agricultural experts for the area." Agricultural experts are "persons who are employed by the Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service or the agricultural departments of universities, or other persons approved by FCIC, whose research or occupation is related to the specific crop or practice for which such expertise is sought."
Hence, county Extension agents or state specialists may be called upon to testify in legal disputes concerning an insured producer's farming practices. Formally, the basic crop insurance provisions state that crop insurance does not cover losses due to negligence, mismanagement, or wrongdoing by insured producers; failure to follow recognized good farming practices for the insured crop; failure or breakdown of irrigation equipment or facilities unless the failure or breakdown is due to a insured cause of loss; failure to carry out a good irrigation practice for the insured crop; water damage for crops planted in areas designed to flood; and damage not evident or occurring until after the insurance period ends.
An insured producer may use an insured crop for an alternative use. For example, corn insured for grain can be chopped for silage (http://www.aae.wisc.edu/mitchell/ Insurance_and_Silage.pdf). It is the producer's responsibility to notify the crop insurance agent and obtain permission for this alternative use, otherwise coverage may be lost. Other changes of this sort also require permission. Specifically, a producer must obtain consent before destroying any unharvested insured crop, putting an insured crop or insured acreage to an alternative use, or abandoning any portion of an insured crop. If a producer is unsure about some practice, always contact the crop insurance agent to ensure that the practice will not forfeit claims to insurance coverage.
If the insured crop is damaged, the producer must file a notice of damage within 72 hours of discovery (not occurrence), but no later than 15 days after the end of the insurance period. Filing this notice is done through the producer's crop insurance agent, who will provide guidance on how the producer should proceed. The producer must continue to protect the crop from further damage. To determine the indemnity, the producer may be required to leave a representative sample of the crop in the field of a specific size for a specified length of time. The producer must cooperate with the loss adjustors by allowing loss adjustors to visit the damaged crop and remove crop samples and by providing requested records and documents for making copies. There may be several requirements, producers should work closely with their crop insurance agents to ensure that all requirements are fulfilled and coverage is not lost due to a technical issue.
The RMA is committed to detecting and preventing fraud or abuse by insured producers. Detection includes using the latest techniques, such statistical methods to analyze data from all the crop insurance policies it processes annually and digital infrared aerial photography of crop fields over large regions. In addition, audits of are regularly conducted, both of randomly chosen policies and suspicious claims. Producers committing fraud are actively prosecuted and successful cases publicized. Fraud prevention includes RMA collaboration with USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) to develop anti-fraud training programs for RMA and FSA state and county employees.
Everyone (including county Extension agents) is encouraged to report fraud or program abuse. If someone suspects fraud, waste, or abuse in the crop insurance program, contact the USDA's Office of Inspector General at (800) 424-9121, or by mail at P.O. Box 23399, Washington, DC 20026. When calling or writing, include as much detail as possible. A report can be anonymous and confidentially can be requested.