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Mycotoxin levels on High Plains pose threat to region’s corn farmers

Resource Update

Since the publish of the below news release, additional questions have been asked regarding fumonisin losses. Please note the following additional resources for farmers:

Farmers should understand steps in dealing with potential issue

As early harvest is underway in the High Plains of Texas, Texas Corn Producers (TCP) has received reports of mycotoxin, a by-product of fungal activity promoted by environmental conditions, in early-harvested corn at levels requiring testing and quality adjustments.

Farmers across the South Plains and Panhandle should be aware of this issue as they begin harvest, and take appropriate measures to mitigate losses. In order to know if a cornfield is impacted by mycotoxins, testing must be completed by: a) elevators with capabilities, b) grain exchanges, or c) approved independent laboratory facilities.

If mycotoxin is detected above the guidance levels established by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it is imperative that farmers carefully follow the steps outlined in Paragraph 1109 of the Loss Adjustment Manual Standard Handbook issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA).

Farmers suspecting this issue should:

  1. Make insurance provider aware of suspected issue prior to harvest, storage or destruction of the cornfield.
  2. Adjuster must collect samples of the Representative Sample Area (RSA) prior to the grain entering storage or the destruction of the field. Only the adjuster is approved to obtain samples from the standing crop.
  3. An Approved Insurance Provider (AIP)-Approved Testing Facility (i.e. laboratory) must complete analysis of these samples.

Without following the above guidelines, should a farmer begin harvest, and deliver to an elevator, processor or other facility, any mycotoxin testing completed by the accepting facility cannot be accepted for insurance purposes unless the facility has the capabilities to meet the criteria as an AIP-approved testing facility. In order for samples to be accepted for insurance purposes, instructions must be obtained from the adjuster for the farmer’s insurance company.

Farmers with questions regarding proper protocol for handling potential mycotoxin issues in their cornfield should contact their respective insurance provider, or TCP for further clarification. Farmers can access Paragraph 1109 of the RMA Loss Adjustment Manual Standard Handbook and relevant information on the TCP website, www.TexasCorn.org.

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