MDA announces change to elk damage claim process

For most Minnesota farmers, the prospects of having to file an elk damage claim are very limited. But for those northern farmers who are unfortunate to suffer damage on their properties, claims are inevitable.

With that said, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) wants producers to know the process has changed for submitting elk damage claims.

“Our elk claims process serves as an important financial lifeline for farmers,” said Andrea Vaubel, MDA Assistant Commissioner. “There aren’t many elk claims but the damage can be pretty significant when it occurs.”

According to Minnesota statute, the elk damage compensation program requires that crop loss must be investigated by a federal crop adjuster or County Extension agent in a timely manner.

Vaubel said that because of several factors, including the retirement of longtime extension educators in the north, the University of Minnesota Extension educators will no longer be able to verify elk claims.

“Producers will need to get in touch with their crop insurance agent to verify the damage,” she said.

While there are no “federal crop insurance adjusters” because of the privatization of the federal program, there are adjusters who have federally-supervised training. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has assured MDA that crop insurance companies are willing to do elk investigations for their customers.

Vaubel says that if producers don’t have crop insurance or have issues with their crop insurance company agreeing to verify a claim, they should contact Blane White, MDA Animal Damage Compensation Program Coordinator, at blane.white@state.mn.us or (651) 201-6578.

“Time is of the essence,” Vaubel said. “Claims have to be filed in a pretty timely manner.”

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