On the farm bill webinar…

“Webinars aren’t new to us but it’s something we’ll be investing even more in. They’re a freeway to deliver important information to the public and allows interaction, allows people to ask questions. We had more than 250 who participated in a webinar on new GIPSA rules.

“The NALC will lead the June 21 webinar focusing on the current farm bill debate and crop insurance. Grant Ballard, who is very sharp on crop insurance, will also be presenting. He’s a research consultant to the center and is an associate with the Banks Law Firm.

“The webinar is actually part of a legal education series that has been made possible by a gift from the Banks Law Firm. A lot of people know Chuck Banks from his involvement in the recent Bayer (GM-tainted) rice litigation.

“That gift was also given to help publicize the center’s 25 year anniversary.

“I really love my job, it’s exciting. Being able to help the agricultural community in Arkansas and around the country is very rewarding.”

Among things the webinar will cover…

“We’ll lay out, in a producer-friendly way, the structure of crop insurance program. That’s important for people to understand because of the different legal relationship between each link the crop insurance chain.

“Most understand that crop insurance doesn’t work like home or car insurance. It’s a different critter. It’s easier to appreciate the legal nuances if you can understand the difference between the standard reinsurance agreement, the relationship between the RMA (Risk Management Agency) and private insurers, and the private insurers and the producer. The difference between the loss adjuster and crop insurance agent is another example.

“To set it up, we’ll do a brief update on where we are with the farm bill and put crop insurance in that context. Crop insurance is not new. However, in all likelihood we’ll be eliminating direct payments and that will have an impact between lenders and producers. From what I’ve been told there will be more instances where lenders will say ‘if you want a crop loan, we’ll have to be more engaged in your production decisions.’ In some instances, they’ll require that crop insurance be purchased.

“We’ll walk through the items a producer should be aware of under the crop insurance program in terms of being prepared to file a loss claim. We’ll talk about key case law. For example, in general, the government and courts will assume that a producer understands and has knowledge of all the terms in their crop insurance contract.

“We’ll also be doing a survey with the webinar. At the end there will be a link that will allow participants to let us know what they’d like additional programming on.”