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Nebraska, Wyoming Farm Bureaus Urge USDA to Cover Crop Losses Associated with Irrigation Tunnel Collapse 

Nebraska, Wyoming Farm Bureaus Urge USDA to Cover Crop Losses Associated with Irrigation Tunnel Collapse 
Ft. Laramie Canal after north side of canal repaired from July 17, breach. KNEB/RRN/Guzman

The Nebraska and Wyoming Farm Bureaus are urging the United Stated Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure crop insurance will cover crop losses experienced by farmers impacted by the July 17 irrigation tunnel collapse that has prevented irrigators on the Goshen Irrigation District in Wyoming and the Gering-Ft. Laramie Irrigation District in Nebraska from receiving irrigation water during a critical time in the growing season.

In an Aug.16 letter to USDA Under Secretary of Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey and USDA Risk Management Agency Administrator Martin Barbre, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson and Wyoming Farm Bureau President Todd Fornstrom urged the agency to “thoroughly examine the tunnel collapse” and “provide crop insurance coverage for those Nebraska and Wyoming farmers affected by the loss of irrigation.”

Questions have existed about whether federal crop insurance would cover associated losses due to the unknown surrounding the cause of the tunnel collapse. The USDA Risk Management Agency has yet to make an official decision.

“It seems this situation, which will cause considerable crop losses outside of the control of those who farm within the 100,000 plus acre area impacted, is precisely why federal crop insurance was created,” wrote Nelson and Fornstrom.

Nelson and Fornstrom recently toured the affected area to visit with farmers and to see the tunnel collapse site.

“We can tell you the farmers we spoke to, who are already dealing with poor economic conditions, are relying on federal crop insurance to cover their losses. We hope the Risk Management Agency will use all its authority to protect the farmers who have been impacted by this disastrous event,” wrote the Farm Bureau leaders.

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