PINE BLUFF, Ark. — Sept. 30 is a critical date for wheat and oat farmers in Arkansas. It’s the deadline to sign up, cancel or make any changes in their crop insurance policies, says Henry English, director of the Small Farm Program at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

Unless a grower gives written notice to the insurance company by Sept. 30, in most cases, the policy will renew automatically for another year,” says English. Farmers should check with their insurance agents to determine the policies that best fits their operation. Most farmers would choose between a yield or revenue-guarantee type of insurance.

English also reminds farmers of the linkage requirement between disaster payments and crop insurance.

Producers who applied for payments under the Crop Disaster Program for losses in 2003 and 2004 on crops that were not insured must buy crop insurance on their crops for the next two years (2006 and 2007) or face a large penalty.

If a producer fails to comply with this provision, the Farm Service Agency will seek to collect reimbursement of the full disaster payment plus interest, says English. Buying the basic catastrophe (CAT) level of insurance is not enough to comply with the new regulations.

For information on the different types of crop insurance, contact the following Extension associates:

• Arlanda Jacobs (870) 572-2966 — Phillips, Arkansas, Monroe and Lee counties.

• Carolyn Prowell (870) 572-2209; (870) 572-7970 — St. Francis, Woodruff, Cross and Crittenden counties.

• Janet Breckenridge (870) 265-2608 — Chicot, Drew, Ashley and Desha counties.

• Kandi Williams (870) 898-2353 — Miller, Howard, Lafayette, Little River and Sevier counties. Farmers elsewhere in the state should contact Stephan Walker at (870) 575-7237 or Dr. English at (870) 575-7246.