Today, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced that the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation tunnel collapse was caused by unusually high precipitation. The Risk Management Agency has determined that since the collapse happened due to a natural cause, it will be an insurable event for ag producers affected by the irrigation disruption.

“This is great news and it’s exactly what we’ve been fighting for since the tunnel collapsed on July 17. The USDA did the right thing by covering this loss and preventing a bunch of bankruptcies in the Panhandle. It’s the honest thing to do. Our farmers have been put through the ringer and still have a long way to go, but this is a huge relief for Nebraska agriculture,” said U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Neb.).

“I appreciate the Risk Management Agency making the determination that the Gering-Ft. Laramie-Goshen irrigation tunnel collapse is an insurable event. Because of this decision, Nebraska ag producers submitting claims for production and prevented planting losses will have more certainty about how this will be treated under their crop insurance policies. I want to thank Secretary Perdue and the U.S. Department of Agriculture for working with Nebraska and Wyoming to mitigate the effects of this irrigation disruption,” said U.S. Senator Fischer (R-Neb.), a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee.  

Yesterday, Sasse and Fischer, along with Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY), Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), Representative Adrian Smith (R-NE), and Representative Liz Cheney (R-WY), wrote to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, asking for crop insurance protection for ag producers hurt by the collapse of irrigation canal tunnel. The tunnel transported water to 54,000 acres in Nebraska. A full copy of the letter to Secretary Perdue is available here.