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These farmers sued Farm Bureau for fraud in crop damage claim. A jury awarded them $3.48M

Idaho crops educator: Farms must continue to grow in order to survive

Jerry Neufeld, a 17-year University of Idaho crops extension educator in Caldwell, explains why Idaho farms must grow to survive.
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Jerry Neufeld, a 17-year University of Idaho crops extension educator in Caldwell, explains why Idaho farms must grow to survive.

A Canyon County jury has awarded $3.48 million in a disputed farm crop insurance claim case.

Following a 27-day trial and seven hours of deliberation, the jury on June 10 reached an unanimous verdict against Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company of Idaho.

According to the complaint, Idaho Farm Bureau sold Nate and Kristin Pancheri a policy for their 2016 alfalfa seed crops, which were planted on several parcels in Ada and Canyon counties. A July 10, 2016, hail storm seriously damaged those crops.

The Pancheris claimed the Idaho Farm Bureau sent out claims adjusters who were not trained and not knowledgeable about alfalfa seed hail damage and grossly undervalued the damage. Additionally, they claim the insurance company changed the policy terms from previous years’ policies without notification.

The Pancheris claims against Idaho Farm Bureau included fraud, breach of contract, bad faith and negligence.

Following the jury’s verdict, a slated second trial for punitive damages was settled in lieu of going to trial, according to court records.

Idaho Farm Bureau is not commenting on the case, spokesman Sean Ellis said.

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Idaho Statesman investigative reporter Cynthia Sewell was named Idaho Press Club reporter of the year in 2017 and 2008. A University of Oregon graduate, she joined the Statesman in 2005. Her family has lived in Idaho since the mid-1800s.
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