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Hot topics: Dry weather, insurance cap

Dorne Meyer, crop claims manager for Nodak Mutual Insurance Co., discussed crop insurance updates Thursday with area farmers in the Sodbuster room of the Elks Lodge in Dickinson.

Dry conditions were a popular topic at a crop insurance update meeting, held Thursday in the Sodbuster room at the Elks Lodge.

"It's getting very dry," said Dorne Meyer, crop claims manager for Nodak Mutual Insurance Co. "It's a little unusual."

Meyer added that if Dickinson experiences a hot, dry and windy spring, farmers may be in trouble.

"It could become an issue," he said.

But Meyer is choosing to be optimistic. He said the crop markets are "pretty decent right now," and there is still some moisture in the ground.

"A few timely rains and things will be fine," Meyer said. "That's everybody's wish."

Luke Sturn, crop adjuster for Nodak, said low moisture is partly due to a lack of snow. He agrees with Meyer in that a little rain would calm a lot of nerves.

"A shot of rain after (farmers) get everything in would be ideal," Sturn said. "It would do wonders."

Jason Tormaschy was one of the farmers who shared concerns about dry weather during the meeting. He farms with his parents near


"This year, it's not looking too good yet," Tormaschy said. "There's not much moisture out there."

But Tormaschy said conditions could be worse, and all his family can do is hope for a wet spring.

"I'd rather have a drought in the winter and more moisture in the spring," he said. "It keeps our hopes up a little bit."

Tormaschy also said he welcomed news that Nodak plans to raise an insurance cap.

"They've raised it to a $200,000 cap limit," he said. "So you won't get audited unless you have more than a $200,000 loss."

Nodak representatives who attended the meeting said other changes involved the reissuance of important insurance dates.

"The acreage reporting date was moved to July 15," said local Nodak Mutual agent Cliff Weiler. "It used to be June 30."

Weiler also said billing dates have been moved up.

Dates were set for Oct. 1, but now they will be Aug. 15.

"It will mean (farmers) will have to dig into their pocket earlier than they have in the past," Weiler said.

Nodak Insurance recently made some changes involving grain, particularly affecting Morton County.

"You can insure grain corn now without a written agreement," Weiler said. "Corn is insurable as silage for anyone, upon request."

Ultimately, Meyer thought Thursday's meeting was helpful for area farmers.

"I thought it was well-attended, and people were interested to hear what the topics are," he said.

Meyer added that Nodak representatives will spend the rest of February conducting similar meetings in North Dakota, with the next meeting set to take place in Forman.