On July 10, 2019, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) issued Managers Bulletin MGR-19-019 and a Press Release, which provides additional time for acreage reporting for areas impacted by flooding and excessive precipitation. RMA states that due to these severe conditions, it had received requests to allow additional time to submit acreage reports for spring seeded crops. RMA states that producers may have difficulties meeting current acreage reporting dates due to damage to transportation infrastructure, homes and businesses.
In response, RMA stated that approved insurance providers (AIPs) may allow producers to file acreage reports for all spring planted crops by July 20, 2019, in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Tennessee and Wisconsin. RMA states that, while AIPs may provide additional time to submit acreage reports, producers should submit the reports as soon as possible so claims can be processed. RMA also states that while additional time may be provided to submit acreage reports, it does not extend to other due dates such as when written agreements and added land requests must be made a received.
ANALYSIS – Impossibility has always been recognized by RMA as a defense to strict enforcement of the policy provisions and allows for modifications after the contract change date. The above stated severe weather conditions seem to fall squarely within those situations in the past where impossibility was recognized and dates extended. The problem is in the application of the impossibility defense. If it is impossible to timely submit acreage reports because of damage to transportation infrastructure, homes and businesses it would also seem to be impossible to timely submit written agreements and added land requests. This bulletin fails to provide a rational basis why these deadlines are treated differently.
All statements made are opinions of the author and are not intended to provide legal opinions or legal advice.