Crop Insurance Continues to Yield Benefits for Navajo Farmers

Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye speaking at the grand opening of CKP Insurance’s new office space, located in Navajo, New Mexico.

Published July 16, 2018

NAVAJO, N.M. — Crop insurance acquired through the USDA’s Pasture, Rangeland and Forage (PRF) Program is paying off to help the Navajo Nation weather the drought. On July 13, CKP Insurance presented President Russell Begaye, Vice President Jonathan Nez and other tribal leaders with a check for $18 million during the grand opening of the company’s new office space at the Navajo Pine Shopping Center in Navajo, New Mexico.

“There will be rain in the future, but right now we are in a drought,” President Begaye said. “Because of this we purchased crop insurance and we are now seeing the benefits of this decision. This money will go toward projects throughout the Navajo Nation to help communities, ranchers and farmers that are facing hardship.”

The Navajo Nation originally purchased crop insurance in late 2016 for the year of 2017. The policy ended up netting approximately $17 million, which the tribe collected last February. Because this year began with little rainfall the nation is receiving an earlier payout.

The insurance program is based on average expected rainfall.

“Although we enjoy the benefits of drought insurance we prefer the holy rain to nourish Mother Earth,” Vice President Nez said. “However, this money provides some reassurance in the meantime. I believe we made the right decision because the USDA administered program is designed to payout even when it does rain in certain months of the year.”

The Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture has developed the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund Management and Expenditure Plan that utilizes the $17 million received earlier this year. The plan is currently going through the legislative process. If passed, the money will be used to implement a number of agricultural infrastructure projects throughout the nation.

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