Wild elk are found in northwest Minnesota and while relatively rare, they sometimes cause considerable crop damage in this area. To help reduce the impact on area farmers the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has a program to compensate farmers for crops damaged by elk. This helps reduce complaints due to elk damage and allows the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to manage elk in a way that will insure they remain part of northwest Minnesota for years to come.

An owner of an agricultural crop or pasture will be compensated for damage by elk to the crop, pasture or surrounding fence., as authorized by Minnesota Statute 3.7371 (2016) and associated rule (Chapter 1506). Farmers and ranchers seeking compensation need to follow specific reporting procedures to be eligible for state reimbursement. Approved agent will then investigate and verify the elk damage for compensation. The request is then sent to the MDA for payment.

Summary of the requirements for compensation:

  • If you have never been paid a claim before, you will need to complete and submit a W9 form and submit it to the MDA before a payment can be made to you.
  • Each instance of crop or fence damage:
    • Must be documented by the owner, and
    • Must be reported to a person on the current approved agent list within 24 hours of discovery, and
    • Must be verified by the approved agent as elk damage.
  • Total compensation for any claimant is limited to $20,000 for crop damage and/or $1,800 for fence damage in any given fiscal year (July 1 – June 30).
    • Claims for damage that occurs before June 30 but is submitted for payment after July 1, will be counted against the fiscal year total of the year in which the damage occurred.
    • For example, if damage occurred June 30, 2017 (Fiscal year 2017), but the claim is submitted on July 1, 2017 (Fiscal year 2018), the amount of the claim would count against the FY17 total. If $20,000 in crop damage reimbursement had already been made in FY17, and the claim was for additional crop damage, the claim could not be paid.

Current MDA claim forms must be completed. The forms are available online, or by request from the MDA. The claim forms were updated in August, 2017. Older versions should not be completed after August 29, 2017.

Compensation claims are reported on two forms, Part A is completed by the crop or fence owner and Part B is completed by the approved agent evaluating and valuing the claim.

Approved agents:

Name Phone number E-mail address
Carl Christopherson, crop adjuster 218-843-1043 cannoncattl.719@gmail.com
John Stenquist, crop adjuster 218-452-0992 John.Stenquist@rcis.com
Joel Anderson, crop adjuster 218-843-5252 Joel.Anderson@rcis.com
Allen Clow, crop adjuster 218-843-1144 Allen.Clow@rcis.com
Savannah Bernstrom, crop adjuster 218-349-0069 savannah.bernstrom@rcis.com
Justin Muller 218-843-2619 Ext. 3 justin.muller@mn.nacdnet.net

Compensation Claim for Crops Destroyed by Elk - Instructions

Form A – for Crop or Fence Owners

**Important, if you have never been paid a claim before, you will need to complete and submit a W9 form to the MDA before a payment can be made to you.

  • Do not fill in the Claim Number, this will be assigned and filled in by the MDA.
  • Complete Owner name, contact phone number and mailing address.
  • If insurance and/or another source will provide compensation for the loss, that compensation must be reported and will be deducted from the claim paid by the MDA.
  • Each loss must be reported on a separate for
  • For each loss: 
    • Record the county and township in which the loss occurred 
    • Describe the damage and the evidence supporting elk as the cause. Examples include 
      • The condition of the crop 
      • Elk tracks 
      • The area of the state where the loss occurred 
      • Sightings of elk in the area 
      • Any other circumstances 
    • Record the date the loss was discovered 
    • Record the date the loss was reported to the MDA or an Approved Agent, this should be no later than 24 hours after discovery
    • Record the name of the Approved Agent who was notified of the loss
      • The current Approved Agent list is available from the MDA (contact information above) or via the MDA website
      • If the loss is to standing crops and will be valued before harvest, the loss must be reported to an Approved Agent with certification to adjust crop damage (these people are noted on the list).
  • Sign and date the form at the bottom of page 1 and send to the MDA at the address listed on the form, Attention: Elk and Wolf Claims

Form B – for Approved Agents

**Important, if you have never been paid a claim before, you will need to complete and submit a W9 form to the MDA before a payment can be made to you.

  • Begin a form when you receive a report from a claimant
  • Do not fill in the Claim Number, this will be assigned and filled in by the MDA.
  • Fill in the claimant’s name and your name
  • Record the date that the claimant contacted you to report damage
  • Record the date that you investigated the damage
    • The investigation must be timely enough to verify or refute elk as the cause of the damage
  • Record the evidence that elk were the cause of damage. Examples include
    • The condition of the crop
    • Elk tracks
    • The area of the state where the loss occurred
    • Sightings of elk in the area
    • Any other circumstances
    • If there is not sufficient evidence that elk were the likely cause of damage, then record your findings and skip the next step.
  • Record the amount of the loss and value
    • For fence damage
      • Record the type of fencing
      • Record the length of fencing (in feet) that must be repaired.  Note: Contiguous fence repair or replacement needed to insure fence integrity may be included.
      • Record the value per foot for this type of fencing using values provided by the Natural Resource Conservation Service
      • Record the total value of the loss
  • For stored crop damage
    • Record the type of stored crop
    • Record the amount of the stored crop that was lost
    • Record a value per unit of the stored crop using current market price
    • Record the total value of the loss
  • For standing crop damage
    • To value the damage before harvest
      • The Approved Agent must have certification as a crop adjuster
      • Record the type of crop
      • Record the potential yield, per acre, for the field which may be partly based on historical records as well as direct observation of undamaged acres
      • Record the area of the field, in acres, that has been damaged
      • Record the potential yield, per acre, in the damaged area
      • Record the current market price of the crop damaged
      • Record the total value of the loss
    • To value the damage after harvest
      • Record the actual yield, per acre, for undamaged portions of the field which may be based on the owner’s records
      • Record the actual yield, per acre, for damaged portions of the field which may be based on the owner’s records
      • Record the current market price of the crop damaged
      • Record the total value of the loss
      • Record the number of hours required to evaluate and value the claim
      • Record any mileage accrued in evaluating and valuing the claim
      • Sign and date the form at the bottom of page 1 and send to the MDA at the address listed on the form, Attention: Elk and Wolf Claims

The MDA will complete the back sides of both Part A and B when both have been received and all needed information has been completed.

Decisions / Payments are made within 4 – 6 weeks after all forms have completed and submitted.