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BP Business Economic Loss Claim Appeal 2017-766: Settlement Program Selected Correct Crop Dates For Claimant Farming Operation


The following is an Appeal Panel Decision issued pursuant to Section 6 of the BP Deepwater Horizon Economic & Property Damages Settlement Agreement and the Rules Governing the BP Appeals Process. Links may have been added to assist the reader. The original decision may be found here, as well as a glossary of BP Settlement terms

Claimant, a farming operation in Batesville, Mississippi, appeals the correctness of its BEL award. Claimant asserts four assignments of error: use of an incorrect start date for the soybean crop in 2009 and 2010; use of an incorrect start date for the corn crop in 2010 and 2011; use of an incorrect start/end date for the winter wheat crop for the years 2008,2009 and 2010; and improper exclusion of crop insurance payments from 2017 revenue. Relative to the soybean crop season for 2009,claimant argues that a start date of April 1,2009, should be used over that of May 1,2009 selected by the Settlement Program(SP). For the year 2010, claimant argues a start date of March 1,2010 should be used over a start date of April 1,2010 selected by the SP. Relative to the corn crop for 2010 claimant argues a start date of April 1, 2010 should be used, not March 1, 2010 selected by the SP. For the year 2011, claimant argues that March 1, 2011 should be used over the date of February 1, 2011 selected by the SP. Finally, relative to the winter wheat crops claimant argues for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 the beginning and end dates should have been November 1 to May 31 of each year and not with start dates of October 1, 2008; October 1, 2009; and September 1, 2010.

BP contends the SP properly used relevant documentation and agency records to determine the challenged crop season dates; however, BP concedes remand is proper for the purpose of allowing the SP opportunity to review whether insurance proceeds are included as part of claimant’s revenues. A review of the record leads this panelist to conclude: the SP properly determined for the soybean crop a start date of May 1, 2009 and April 1, 2010 were to be used. (One other panel decision in claim number VVV, dated February 14,2017, accepted these periods for the start of the Mississippi soybean crop season for the years 2009 and 2010.) Likewise, the start date for the corn crop for 2010, April 1, 2010, conforms to the records and is accepted; however, the start date for the 2011 corn crop that was selected, February 1,2011, is not supported by the data as March 1, 2011, appears more proximate to the corn planting date of March 20, 2011. Relative to the start/end dates of the winter wheat crops, this panelist finds the reasoned analysis expressed by a fellow panelist in a similar Mississippi BEL claim instructive and persuasive. There, he concluded a start/end date for the winter wheat crop, after communication with the SP, should be the period from November1 to May 31. In this claim it should be no different. The winter wheat crop is piggy-backed to the soybean crop using the same fields with no recognizable time for field preparation.Thus, remand is directed to the SP to review the claim further in this light: (1) include crop insurance proceeds if it is deemed they represent revenue replacement; (2) assign a start date of March 1,2011 for the 2011 corn crop; and (3) assign a start/end date of November 1 to May 31 for the winter wheat crop for the years 2008,2009 and 2010.



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