Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the American farm safety net. It protects the farmers who grow our food and fiber as well as the rural communities that rely on a thriving farm economy.
Mike Chappell bought his first tractor when he was still in college. Now, he farms in McCrory, Arkansas, and takes pride in growing the crops that feed America.
“I feel like that we bring a good product for people. It feels good to know that, you know, people are consuming our product and we’re working hard,” Mike said. “It’s a lot involved. And I’m just one little spoke in the wheel.”
Farming comes with many challenges, and Mike has experienced some big storms, big floods and big freezes that have become family legend. Each time, he’s turned to crop insurance to keep him growing.
“Crop insurance kind of takes a few bumps out of the road,” he said. “It’s not going to make you prosperous, but it might keep you alive.”
Agriculture provides jobs for tens of thousands of people in Arkansas and supports the small businesses that rely on this income. Matthew Marsh in England, Arkansas, grew up farming and understands the immense responsibility of taking care of his employees.
Yet, increasingly severe weather is making it harder for farmers like Matthew. That’s where crop insurance comes in.
“If Mother Nature throws us just a big curveball, we may have something, some way to stay in business and keep our community and all our employees going forward to another year,” Matthew explained.
Just across the mighty Mississippi, agriculture anchors the small town of Clarksdale, Mississippi. The Mississippi Blues Trail winds through Clarksdale, too, and the intersection of farming and folk music give farmer Scott Flowers hope that this community will survive through tough times.
Scott farms cotton, soybeans, corn, and wheat with his brother. When we spoke with him in mid-April, they hadn’t been able to get into the fields to plant nearly half their acres due to the rain. When weather is unpredictable, crop insurance provides a predictable safety net.
Weather isn’t the only risk. Input costs, such as the cost for fertilizer, fuel, and animal feed, are also rising and squeezing already thin farm profits.
“We couldn’t make it without crop insurance,” Scott said. “I mean, we put so much money into the crop that we can’t afford to miss a crop. Or not to have a safety net if we do.”
Watch these stories and more at CropInsuranceInAmerica.org.