CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Tom March, Bethlehem, Connecticut

In 1915, Thomas and Rose Marchukaitis, two Lithuanian immigrants who had been in the country for only a few years, purchased a farm in Bethlehem, Connecticut, which consisted of 114 acres and supported 15 cows and two horses. There, they raised their nine children and worked hard for their American dream. Three generations later, their

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Russ Mauch, Mooreton, North Dakota

“If you’re not a risk taker with an incredibly optimistic view of life and a deep belief in your own potential as a businessman, then you better not think about wanting to become a farmer,” says Russ Mauch, past president of the American Sugarbeet Growers Association and a sugarbeet farmer . Mauch is a second-generation

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Patrick Solon, Streator, Illinois

Patrick Solon’s 1,500 acre farm in north central Illinois will celebrate its 165th year in the Solon family on May 23, 2013. The farm, located about 85 miles southwest of Chicago, has been a source of livelihood for six generations of the Solon family, growing corn and soybeans on some of the best, blackest soil

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Keith Miller, Great Bend, Kansas

Great Bend, Kansas, farmer Keith Miller looks at the big picture. Crop insurance, he declared, is not just an agricultural safety net for the farming community. It is an economic imperative. “I do feel that the general public doesn’t understand that 95 percent of all farmers are trying to do the right thing,” he said.

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Bing Von Bergen, Moccasin, Montana

Bing Von Bergen is not only the president and acting CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers, he’s a third-generation Montana wheat farmer who has seen all kinds of weather over the years. “Last year, parts of the nation had the worst drought since the ‘Dirty 30s,” he said, recalling the name given the

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Marvin Jensen, Kensington, Minnesota

Local legend has it that a group of Vikings happened upon this part of west-central Minnesota in 1362 and left runic inscriptions on a piece of stone. Hundreds of years later, a local farmer found the stone, and the discovery has forever added an air of mystique to the town on Kensington, Minnesota, and the

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Bill Bridgeforth, Tanner, Alabama

“In a typical year, with five different crops in the ground, it seems like we farm all the time,” said Bill Bridgeforth, a fourth generation farmer from Tanner, Alabama, in the state’s northeast corner. Bridgeforth farms 10,000 acres of cotton, corn, soybeans and canola with his brother Gregory and their sons. “I’ve always wanted to

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Trent Patterson, Lake County, Tennessee

For Trent Patterson, 2012 was a very dry year. Drought parched much of Tennessee, where he farms about 4,500 acres planted to cotton, corn, soybeans and wheat. The drought forced farmers like Patterson to switch crops from the flagship cotton to soybeans, which requires less agricultural inputs. With crop insurance as part of most farmers’

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Paul Penner, Hillsboro, Kansas

In 2012, the drought in Kansas was in its second year, and wheat, corn and soybean farmer Paul Penner was just trying to survive to the next season. Crop insurance has been Penner’s lifeline for the last two years and the years before that. It has given him and his wife, Deborah, the means and

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Tom & Mike Audet, Orwell, Vermont

Ledge Haven Farm might be one of those Vermont farms that would be most likely to end up on a postcard. The place is just about everything you would think of when you put the words Vermont and agriculture together. The 550-acre farm, owned by brothers Tom and Mike Audet, is a family-run dairy and

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Jimmy Miller, Interlachen, Florida

For centuries, blueberries were gathered from the dense forests and bogs by Northeastern U.S. Native Americans, and are one of the only fruits we consume that are native to North America. So when most of us hear about blueberry farms, we conjure up images of cool, damp climates and cold winters. Except on Jimmy Miller’s

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Andy Bell, Climax, Georgia

On the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, you can chase a greased pig in the southwestern Georgia town of Climax as it celebrates its Swine Time Festival, which normally draws up to 30,000 people in an area where only 300 people live. There is also corn shucking and a squeal-off. Climax is the highest point on

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Bob and Mike Buntin, Thompsonville, Illinois

The choices Illinois farmers faced in the past when drought struck the Midwest were unpleasant all around. They could borrow money from family, drain their hard-earned savings or go under. In the last decade, crop insurance has made it possible for brothers Robert (Bob) and Michael Buntin, owners of Buntin Bros., Inc. in Thompsonville, to

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Jerry McReynolds, Woodston, Kansas

On land where wheat stalks heavy with grain would normally wave on a breeze in the late summer, the searing drought of 2012 zapped nearly every inch of land across the Kansas plains, leaving it burnt and lifeless. There was no way to hide from the drought in the Grain Belt. Just one year after

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Todd & Ty Williams

Todd and Ty Williams grew up on their family’s farm near Gruver, Texas, a town of about 1,100 people in the panhandle region. Todd Williams says he’s been driving a tractor since he was about seven years old, so it was just the natural course of events that he and his brother Ty would end

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Whitney Blodgett, Shoreham, Vermont

Whitney Blodgett has been farming in the family’s Vermont apple orchard, commercially known as “Sentinel Pine Orchard,” his whole life. Blodgett says that the family purchased the orchard in 1964, and have since grown, adding the abandoned dairy farm next door. Sentinel Pine Orchard, is comprised of 220 acres of apple trees, mostly planted in

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Mike Garavaglia, Vero Beach, Florida

Florida accounts for roughly 70 percent of the U.S. annual production of citrus, of which the vast majority goes into processing, mostly for orange juice. Citrus is big business in the Sunshine State, and Mike Garavaglia is one of Florida’s many citrus growers who make their living putting fresh citrus on the tables of America’s

CROP INSURANCE IN ACTION: Cash Ruane, North Clarendon, Vermont

It’s perhaps no great coincidence that Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream was founded in Burlington, Vermont, given that dairy is the Green Mountain State’s largest agriculture industry. Cash Ruane, from North Clarendon, Vermont, is one of those Vermont dairy farmers. Cash has been farming his whole life, starting his own farming business with his beloved

Crop Insurance 101

Tom Zacharias, President of NCIS, explains the basics of crop insurance.

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