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from the AIPs, which were then sent to RMA.
The Agency prepared written responses and then
discussed them with AIPs, along with other questions that would come up during the calls. During
the spring and the summer, every effort was made
to ensure that insureds, agents, adjusters, and the
AIPs had the necessary flexibility to continue to
deliver crop insurance to the American farmer. 
It is important to recall that both agriculture
and insurance were categorized as " essential infrastructure " early in the pandemic. This determination was critical in allowing our industry to
continue to function, albeit recognizing social distancing and other public health protocols. It was
also the case that RMA held the line clearly stating
that COVID-19 was not a valid cause of loss and
that there would be no changes in existing SCDs.
I believe it is safe to say that the Agency and
the industry worked together exceptionally well to
ensure that the nails, the shoes, the horses, and the
riders were in sync to face the task at hand.

Drought, Derecho, and
Hurricanes

As if the pandemic was not enough to deal
with, much of the country was experiencing
drought conditions. In early January, the Drought
Monitor Map showed that portions of the Midwest and Southeast were in areas of abnormal
to severe drought, but overall, conditions were
relatively favorable. By late October, the only region where drought was not prevalent was the
Southeast. The West, including Hawaii, portions
of western Nebraska, northwest Iowa, southeast
South Dakota, southwest Missouri, and parts of
the Northeast were all in extreme to exceptional
drought, with other areas still in the abnormal to
severe drought categories.
To add insult to injury, Mother Nature had
more to say about the summer of 2020. The derecho on August 10 left farmers in Iowa and neighboring states devastated. The derecho caused
notably widespread high winds and spawned an
outbreak of weak tornadoes. In addition, certain
areas reported torrential rain and large hail.
Damage was moderate to severe across much
of the affected area, as sustained wind speeds of 70
miles per hour were prevalent. The greatest damage occurred in eastern Iowa, where the highest
measured wind speed of 126 mph was recorded.
Millions of people were impacted by the storm
with loss of utilities, damage to property, and severe damage to crops.
Again, industry and RMA rolled up their
28

FOURTHQUARTER2020

sleeves to respond to the disaster.
In 2020, seven hurricanes impacted the United
States - eight if one includes Hurricane Douglas
that narrowly missed hitting the island of Kuai
in late July - making 2020 the most active hurricane season since 2005. The Hurricane Insurance
Product-Wind Index (HIP-WI) Endorsement
was fortuitously introduced in time to protect
farmers from losses caused by devastating hurricanes. Hurricane Hanna, a Category 1 storm
made landfall near Padre Island, Texas, on July 25,
triggering losses in ten total counties. Just a few
days later, Hurricane Isaias caused heavy losses in
seventeen counties in North and South Carolina.
In late August, Hurricane Laura struck Cameron,
La., as a Category 4 storm, damaging the largest
area totaling 45 counties in both Louisiana and
Texas. In September, Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Ala., and Hurricane Delta
made landfall near Creole, La., hitting some of the
same counties as Hurricane Laura. In late October, Louisianans were affected by Hurricane Zeta,
and as this goes to press, all eyes are on another
tropical storm that could strengthen to hurricane
status. So far, more than $130 million in indemnities have been paid to farmers who purchased this
new endorsement and suffered hurricane-force
wind losses due to these devastating storms.
In our last article, we talked about the message
getting lost. If the message gets lost, then the battle
is lost, and we spiral downward. It is safe to say
that 2020 has been a series of battles, starting with
the onset of the pandemic. So, as we have run the
course in 2020, we find our ability to win these
battles is tied to our focus on the task at hand,
getting the details right, making sure the " nails "
are fastened securely, the " riders " are safe, and the
" message " is delivered and the battle is won.

Post-Election

As this issue of TODAY® goes to press, we will
have witnessed the results of the 2020 election.
Turnout for early voting was record-setting. Unprecedented numbers of people voted using mail
ballots as the nation continued to deal with the
COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome of this election will truly be historic.
But what does this mean for agriculture and
specifically crop insurance?
Both political parties understand the importance of a safe, reliable, high-quality, and affordable food supply. They understand the importance
agricultural trade as American farmers continue
to help feed the world's growing population. Domestically, a healthy agricultural sector remains

fundamental to our economy and the well-being
of our nation. As such, crop insurance will remain
a fundamental element of the farm safety net.

In This Issue

The fourth quarter of TODAY® features an indepth look at NCIS initiatives focused on providing risk management education to limited resource
and socially disadvantaged farmers. Dr. Laurence
Crane, who oversees these activities, explains the
importance of ensuring that all farmers, no matter if they grow crops on 10 acres or 1,000 acres,
understand how to evaluate the risks they face and
know how to implement a plan to mitigate those
risks. Over the last 10 years, hundreds of farmers
have benefited from this information that provides
them with the tools they need to succeed in the difficult and challenging world of agriculture.
We also introduce you to the next five college
students who have been awarded an NCIS 1890
scholarship. These students come from varying
backgrounds but are all excited to be attending
college with the hope of being involved in agriculture someday.
Dr. James Houx, in the latest What's Growing
On? series of articles, writes about how data analytics is being used in big and small ways throughout agriculture. From how equipment is manufactured to how seed technology is changing, data
analytics plays a very large role in agriculture.
Read more beginning on page 16.
We also highlight Michael and Valerie Diller,
a couple who have been growing corn, wheat, and
hay and raising sheep for many years near Texline,
Texas. Many years ago, a hailstorm almost wiped
them out and they relied on crop insurance to get
through. Because of that experience, they knew
they had to make sure other farmers were protected from similar disasters and it was then that they
decided to sell crop insurance to other farmers.
" Truly, we wouldn't be here today without it, " Valerie said. " I decided at that point if there was a way
to help people, if we could, I wanted to do that. "

Final Thoughts

2020 has been a most difficult year on so many
levels. It has been characterized by an unprecedented public health crisis, along with economic
and political uncertainty. Agriculture has faced its
share of hardships and the pandemic is yet to be
contained. Our hearts go out to those who have
lost friends and loved ones. So, as we close out the
year with this issue of Crop Insurance TODAY®,
we hope for a brighter future in 2021. Please continue to be safe and stay healthy.



Crop Insurance Today Fourth Quarter 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Crop Insurance Today Fourth Quarter 2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/cint/november2014
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https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/cint/november2013
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https://www.nxtbook.com/allen/cint/november2012
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