Crop Insurance Essential for California Farmers

For three years, California’s farmers and ranchers faced extreme drought. Then, this winter, as crop insurance agent Dan Van Vuren tells it, “It started raining in January and it didn’t stop until March.”

It’s been a devastating year for many California growers, but crop insurance has provided a valuable safety net for our farmers, our food supply, and the farm economy.

“Crop insurance keeps farmers in business,” Dan said. “The more farmers you have in business, the more food you’re going to have on the table.”

National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) recently traveled to California to capture the stories of private-sector crop insurance agents like Dan, and the farmers and ranchers who rely on this vital component of the farm safety net. You can watch all of their video stories here.

Farmers like sixth-generation grower Alex Wilson, who runs a vertically integrated pear and cherry operation with his family.

“I want Congress to know that there are family farms that depend on crop insurance. People like me who want to continue on a legacy.”

Check out more quotes from real farmers, ranchers, and agents by visiting our Real Stories page.

Farmers: Crop Insurance Provides Protection, Not Profit

America’s farmers don’t profit from crop insurance. They’d rather grow and harvest a crop than file a crop insurance claim.

We recently shared an explainer demonstrating how crop insurance is an investment into the protection of family farms – not a get-rich-quick scheme. A brand-new series of interviews with farmers in the field confirms that farmers buy crop insurance with the hopes of never needing to actually use it.

“By no means are we going to get rich off of crop insurance,” fourth-generation farmer Steve Koretoff said.

Steve recalled a massive hailstorm that mowed down about 1,000 acres of cotton. “If it wasn’t for the fact that we had crop insurance, it would have been a devastating loss for our operation.”

Farmer Eric Ott knows that feeling of devastation all too well. This year, flood waters destroyed two alfalfa fields and his walnut fields. “It’s sad,” he said. “You put your heart and soul into growing these things and then it just goes like that and there’s nothing.”

Eric was grateful he had crop insurance to help offset his losses, but crop insurance did not make Eric whole, let alone allow him to recoup the potential income that he would have received from selling that alfalfa and walnut crop.

“We’re not in this to make money, to collect the insurance to make money. We just want to be able to pay the bills and sleep at night and not lose the farm.”

When almond farmer Donny Hicks had a disastrous harvest one year, he filed a crop insurance claim to cover the costs he had already invested into that year’s almond crop.

“Of course, not making any money, but covering our cost and getting through so that we could continue to farm the next year,” he said.

“The last thing I want to do is collect crop insurance,” fourth generation farmer Craig Ledbetter echoed. “But it’s also something that if disaster happens that I absolutely need…to break even and give you a fighting chance for another year.”

Misleading Claims About Crop Insurance Hurt Family Farmers

Farmers don’t profit from crop insurance. They’d rather grow a crop than file a claim.

Crop insurance keeps America’s farmers growing after disaster. It’s the cornerstone of the farm safety net, and an integral risk management tool for family farmers.

But activist critics are not afraid to use misleading claims to dismantle the farm safety net, hurting the family farmers who depend on crop insurance. Criticisms that farmers somehow profit when they file crop insurance claims or would rather file a claim than grow a crop are not only false, but also run counter to the hardworking ethics of the American farmer.

Let’s explore how crop insurance works.

Farmers purchase crop insurance before they plant.

Farmers work with private-sector crop insurance agents to purchase a crop insurance policy before they plant a crop. The policy is personalized to the unique risks and needs of that farm.

Farmers pay to purchase crop insurance policies…

Farmers are required to invest in their own protection and share in the risk. Last year, America’s farmers collectively paid $6.8 billion to purchase crop insurance premiums. As Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee said, “Our farmers, they’re not asking for a handout.”

…that are made affordable through government discounts.

The Federal government provides discounts to ensure it remains affordable for farmers. Many farmers – especially young and beginning farmers – are already operating on tight profit margins. Increasing the cost of crop insurance would be devastating.

So, after a farmer purchases crop insurance, what next? They grow their crops, raise their livestock, follow Good Farming Practices, claim. It’s an investment into the protection of their family farm.

“Most every farmer truly buys [crop insurance] and hopes they never use it. We would much prefer to make a good crop and sell it at a good price… but those years come that you’re going to need it. And being able to have something to lean on, to know that you’re going to be in business next year is a big deal,” said South Carolina farmer Landrum Weathers.

But if a disaster strikes the farm, farmers need help – fast.

Famers can’t afford to wait years for Congress to approve emergency disaster aid. Farmers need aid now to settle forward marketing contracts for crops that were destroyed, purchase livestock feed after their fields were sapped by drought, or pay back the the operating loan that went towards seed, fertilizer, and other expenses for a crop that never made it to harvest.

Farmers file a claim with their crop insurance agent.

Private-sector crop insurance claims adjusters quickly and accurately assess damages and calculate losses. Delivering aid based on actual losses protects farmers and taxpayers.

Farmers quickly receive aid…

Farmers receive help in just days or weeks, making crop insurance faster than disaster aid.

…minus an average 25% deductible.

Farmers must shoulder a deductible, which is on average about 25% of the value of the loss they experienced. In that way, crop insurance is like other types of insurance. If you have a car accident, you must pay a certain amount before your insurance kicks in.

At the end of the day, crop insurance must be actuarially sound with a loss ratio performance mandate of “not greater than 1.0.” That means that over time, indemnity payments paid out to farmers should equal the total premiums invested into the system.

So, while the Federal government is an invaluable partner in ensuring that crop insurance remains affordable, farmers are still paying into the system. They’re relying on crop insurance to help them survive a disaster so they can plant again the next season, not turn a profit.

“Crop insurance kind of provides a safety net to where you know what the minimum return is going to be. And if you can live with that minimum return and then, you know, you can survive and go forward,” Arkansas farmer Tim Ralston told us when we visited his farm last summer.

That is why a robust crop insurance program is essential to all Americans. Crop insurance protects the farmers who grow our food and strengthens our national food security.

Private-Sector Delivery Protects Farmers

The Federal crop insurance program is built on a unique public-private partnership. Under this successful model, farmers purchase a personalized crop insurance policy from any of the private insurance companies – known as Approved Insurance Providers, or AIPs – authorized to sell and service crop insurance by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

But how does private-sector delivery of crop insurance protect farmers? Watch our new video– featuring real farmers, real agents, and real adjusters – to learn more.

Crop insurance companies work together with the USDA to improve the regulatory framework of crop insurance, improve program delivery, and expand participation. While the USDA sets rates and rules for the various plans of insurance that can be sold by private crop insurance agents, it is the responsibility of crop insurance companies to write policies, as well as adjust and process claims.

That means when disaster strikes, private-sector crop insurance companies react quickly to assess damages and issue payments. Crop insurance assistance is usually delivered within just 30 days of a claim being finalized, making crop insurance faster than disaster aid and providing farmers and the communities that rely on them with a critical safety net.

Private-sector crop insurers spend millions on research, training, and new technology to constantly improve efficiency and help farmers better adapt to the changing climate.

Not only that, but the dynamic nature of crop insurance and the strong partnership between crop insurers and the Federal government means that the program can quickly adapt to reflect farmers’ risks and the voluntary adoption of proven climate-smart agriculture practices.

That’s why Congress has made crop insurance the cornerstone of the farm safety net. Crop insurance must be protected and strengthened in the next Farm Bill.

Farmer Support for Crop Insurance Key Theme at Farm Bill Listening Session

Between scoops of corn ice cream and live music, farmers and policymakers gathered yesterday at Minnesota Farmfest to discuss the issues that matter most to rural America. The Listening Session held by the House Agriculture Committee presented an opportunity for farmers, lenders, and other agricultural stakeholders to outline their priorities in the upcoming Farm Bill.

One topic came up over and over again: crop insurance.

Farmers testified that crop insurance is an essential risk management tool for America’s family farmers, and they asked that it be protected and strengthened in the next Farm Bill.

“On behalf of thousands of farm families across this state, as you craft this 2023 Farm Bill, please first do no harm to crop insurance. It is the cornerstone of the farm safety net,” said Richard Syverson, President of the Minnesota Corn Growers Association.

Syverson also warned the committee to not be misled by false promises of “reforming” a crop insurance system that works.

Tom Haag, President of the National Corn Growers Association and a fourth-generation farmer, also spoke to the value of crop insurance. Put simply: “It works, it’s proven… 96% of the corn farmers in Minnesota use it. That’s how valuable it is.”

Large swaths of Minnesota are currently experiencing some level of drought, and Bob Worth, President of Minnesota Soybean Growers Association, said that crop insurance has been an invaluable safety net. “This is going to be my third year of a drought, and if it wasn’t for crop insurance, a lot of farmers like me probably would not be surviving,” Worth said.

Worth also expressed the need to protect and strengthen crop insurance so that younger farmers can afford crop insurance coverage. Without the protection provided by crop insurance, these young farmers might not be able to secure the working capital they need to plant again another season.

“If we don’t keep our young farmers back on the farm – or get them back on the farm – farming as we know it will be gone, because us old farmers are going to have to quit sometime. So, that’s so important that we do have a great crop insurance.”

House Agriculture Committee Chairman GT Thompson (R-PA) closed the panel by putting the importance of the Farm Bill and the farm safety net into perspective:

“If American farm families fail, every American family fails. We can’t let that happen.”

Other members of Congress also recognized crop insurance as key to the farm safety net.

“We’ve been talking a lot, been visiting with a lot of groups… and we’re talking about the priorities for the Farm Bill… the one that I hear a lot is crop insurance. Making sure that that’s still a strong program.” – Rep. Michelle Fischbach (R-MN)

“It’s so important for us to remember that food security is national security. So, what we’re talking about in the Farm Bill is much more than just a simple farm program, or a crop insurance title, it’s really about food security and national security.” – Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN)

“What I heard from you today was really, really clear on a number of topics. We’ve got to make sure that the next generation of family famers and producers have a robust crop insurance program, instead of forcing you to rely on the ad hoc programs, like we’ve done previously.” – Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN)

“I’m passionate about crop insurance, and how we have to protect it. Especially revenue insurance.” – Rep. Randy Feenstra (R-IA)

“Many of the key issues I’ve heard from my farmers and through my work on the agricultural committee, resound true here today. Some of these similarities, and we’ve heard them from almost everyone who’s come up at the mic: strengthening the farm safety net, fostering crop insurance risk management tools…” – Rep. Max Miller (R-OH)

Celebrating 100 Years of Crop Insurance Research

Did you know this year marks 100 years of crop insurance-sponsored agricultural research? That’s right – crop insurance has supported American farmers for the last century, helping them manage risk and overcome obstacles, keeping our food supply safe and secure.

In fact, over the past 100 years, National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) and its predecessor organizations have conducted more than 400 research projects in 35 states resulting in the development and refinement of loss adjustment procedures for 54 crops ranging from alfalfa to wild rice.

A mule-drawn cultivating team in the 1910’s. Around the time this photo was taken, the crop insurance industry started the agronomic research program that is still working today to understand the impact of nature’s perils on crops.A mule-drawn cultivating team in the 1910’s. Around the time this photo was taken, the crop insurance industry started the agronomic research program that is still working today to understand the impact of nature’s perils on crops.

 

Simulating hail with an ice blowing machine. The crop insurance industry funded the development of these machines in the 1980’s to simulate realistic crop damage for loss adjuster schools. They are still in use today.Simulating hail with an ice blowing machine. The crop insurance industry funded the development of these machines in the 1980’s to simulate realistic crop damage for loss adjuster schools. They are still in use today.

 

NCIS conducts research across the country. North Dakota is a favorite research location because it is the northernmost location for a diversity of insured crops. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, sunflower research was prolific in North Dakota!NCIS conducts research across the country. North Dakota is a favorite research location because it is the northernmost location for a diversity of insured crops. In the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, sunflower research was prolific in North Dakota!

 

Farming in 2023 is very different from farming 100 years ago, but crop insurance is continuing to adapt to best serve farmers. Over the years, the crop insurance industry has invested millions in new technology and precision data to better serve America’s farmers.

NCIS’ agronomic research has also grown with the rise of Land-Grant University research, keeping abreast with new farming practices, changing weather patterns, and technological advances that often change how crops respond to plant damage.

In fact, the ability of crop insurance to adapt to the changing climate is one of its core strengths.

Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm safety net. That is why we are committed to helping farmers make the best decisions for their farms while maintaining the integrity and actuarial soundness of crop insurance.

Science is at the core of agriculture. And agriculture is at the heart of America.

Farmer Participation in Crop Insurance Key to Farm Safety Net

Every day, farmers spend long hours working the land or caring for their livestock so they can provide high-quality food at an affordable price for millions of Americans across the nation. This amazing feat would not be possible without the critical safety net that crop insurance provides.

However, instead of wanting to encourage more farmers to participate in crop insurance to help shoulder risk, some activist critics want to reduce crop insurance discounts for farmers, or even prevent farmers from managing their risk with crop insurance by imposing arbitrary limits on farm income. Excluding some family farmers from the farm safety net would put smaller farms — and our national food security — in jeopardy.

This is not sustainable or beneficial for our country’s food system. Instead, Congress must strengthen crop insurance in the next Farm Bill so that it works for more farmers, more crops, and more acres.

National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) has released a new video highlighting that crop insurance is affordable, accessible, and adaptable – and limiting coverage will hurt both farmers and taxpayers.

Watch the new video here and learn more about how crop insurance protects farmers and our food supply by visiting CropInsurance101.org.

Crop Insurance by the Numbers

Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm safety net. Its unique public-private partnership is trusted by America’s family farmers and supported by voters. By delivering aid quickly when disaster strikes, crop insurance keeps family farmers growing, drives the rural economy, and supports our national food security.

National Crop Insurance Services has put together 50 fact sheets highlighting the importance of agriculture and demonstrating how crop insurance keeps your state growing. Let’s break down crop insurance by the numbers.

490 Million Acres

Crop insurance protects more than 490 million acres. These acres represent thousands of farming families. Each farm is an integral part of our nation’s food supply and our economy.

130+ Crops

Crop insurance covers 136 crops and 604 varieties with 36 different plans of insurance. Farmers across the country count on the personalized safety net provided by crop insurance.

$6.8 Billion

Crop insurance requires farmers to invest in their own protection and share in the risk. Last year, America’s farmers collectively paid $6.8 billion to purchase more than 1.2 million crop insurance policies.

30 Days

The public-private partnership between the Federal government and private crop insurers increases efficiency and ensures that aid is delivered quickly, generally within 30 days of a claim being finalized.

336 Million

The number of Americans who benefit from having a bountiful supply of grown-in-America food. Crop insurance is necessary to protect the world’s most affordable and safe food and fiber supply.

Find your state fact sheet at CropInsuranceInMyState.org.

Farmers Testify: Crop Insurance Works

President Dwight D. Eisenhower once famously said, “farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”

That’s why farmers, crop insurers, and other agriculture stakeholders from across the country recently brought the corn fields to Congress. Farm leaders representing a diverse range of crops traveled to Washington, DC, and stressed to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees the critical importance of a strong crop insurance program in the next Farm Bill.

Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm safety net, protecting more than 490 million acres of farmland and $170 billion of agriculture production. Farmers testified that, due to the immense risks that come with agriculture, their family farms depend on the protection offered by crop insurance.

“If it wasn’t for Federal crop insurance, I wouldn’t be the sixth generation to farm my family’s farm in Sumner County, and there’s probably no chance of the seventh generation… being able to take over.” – Craig Meeker, Chairman, National Sorghum Producers

Crop insurance is built on a unique public-private partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the private sector. Farmers must share in the risk by purchasing crop insurance, spending more than $6.8 billion to purchase crop insurance in 2022. Farmers continue to invest in crop insurance, and Americans support the program, because it works.

“Federal crop insurance has a proven track record for helping producers quickly respond to natural disaster. Corn growers consistently rank crop insurance as the most important program and title of the Farm Bill,” Tom Haag, president of the Corn Board of the National Corn Growers Association, told the House Agriculture Committee.

At the House hearing, farmers also spoke to their personal experiences with crop insurance. Aaron Flansburg, Chairman, USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council, noted that crop insurance helps farmers secure credit, and it contributes to the financial stability of his own farm. Andrew Moore, President, U.S. Canola Association, recently relied on crop insurance when a cold snap killed his canola crop.

The stories continued on the Senate side: Last year, Kody Carson, Past Chairman of the National Sorghum Producers, planted hundreds of acres of sorghum. He harvested just one field. “Crop insurance is vital for sorghum producers and the tool has been critical in helping us manage the ongoing drought conditions,” Carson said.

“Wheat farmers rely on the certainty of the crop insurance program. In turn, the American people can depend on American farmers who are able to…withstand natural disasters.” – Brent Cheyne, President, National Association of Wheat Growers

 

Testimony and congressional questioning across both committees touched on several of crop insurance’s key strengths:

  1. It’s available to farmers in all 50 states and to more than 130 crops
  2. It delivers aid quickly, allowing farmers to plant again the next season
  3. It’s adaptable, with new products continually under development
  4. It helps farmers, especially new and beginning farmers, secure credit
  5. It contributes to the health and stability of rural communities

In addition to listening to farmer perspectives, the Senate Agriculture Committee also heard from two of the 13 companies approved to sell and service crop insurance.

From America’s corn fields to Capitol Hill, farmers are speaking out loud and clear: Crop insurance keeps America growing. The next Farm Bill must preserve and strengthen this vital risk management tool.

Farmers, Crop Insurance Earn Voter Support

Farmers put food on our tables, clothes on our backs, and keep our economy moving forward.

It’s no wonder then that nearly 80% of Americans have a favorable view of farmers.

Moreover, 91% of voters agree Federal spending on support for farms and farmers is very or somewhat important. In other words, more than nine in 10 Americans support the farm policies that protect the men and women who produce our food and grow our economy — that includes crop insurance.

National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) has released a new video highlighting its findings from a national survey of registered voters.

Family farmers and family farms depend on crop insurance. They trust crop insurance to help them manage the unique risks of farming.

Voters, too, trust crop insurance’s public-private partnership.

Three-quarters of voters support the government giving farmers a discount on the crop insurance policy they purchase from a private company, which pays claims only in the event of bad weather or low prices.

Although the government provides a discount to farmers to ensure crop insurance remains affordable, farmers are still required to share in the risk and must pay about 40% of the crop insurance premium. Last year, farmers paid $6.8 billion out of their own pockets for crop insurance.

Watch the new video here and learn more about how crop insurance protects farmers and our food supply by visiting CropInsurance101.org.

Supporting Our Communities

Crop insurance is about more than just crops. Crop insurance supports our farmers, farmers feed America, and agriculture supports the economic health of our communities.

Family farmers are the backbone of rural America – 98% of farms are family operations. Crop insurance helps keep these families growing after disaster, ensuring that they can keep supplying America with an abundant supply of food and fiber.

“Without crop insurance… this farm would not still be here. It would be gone.” – Brian McClam, 7th Generation Farmer

“Crop insurance has become so vital…no matter what happens in this coming crop season, I will have the ability to pay my bills, to keep my workers employed, and to be able to continue this this family farm that has been here for over 100 years.” – Brett Anderson, Farmer and Crop Insurance Agent

These family farmers do more than just grow our food. They invest in their communities. Agriculture and its related industries contribute more than $1 trillion annually to our economy, providing more than 21 million jobs, powering small-businesses, and supporting public services.

Crop insurance supports the entire rural economy by providing a strong and secure farm safety net, and quickly delivering aid to farmers when they need it.

And what does this cost the federal government? The federal government spends less than a quarter of 1% of its budget on the farm safety net, including crop insurance. Crop insurance is a more than worthwhile investment to ensure America’s farmers can continue providing us all with food and economic opportunity.

You can learn how agriculture supports YOUR state by visiting CropInsuranceInMyState.org.

A Personalized Plan

There are more than two million farms in the United States, and each one is different. America’s farmers and ranchers raise a wide variety of grains, fruits, vegetables, fiber, and livestock to feed and clothe America.

Each of these farms has a different risk profile, requiring a unique risk management plan.

Some are multi-generational farms with secure lines of credit, while others are brand-new farms.

There are farmers growing row crops, such as corn and soybeans, and there are farmers growing specialty crops, such as fresh produce or nuts. Some farmers and ranchers raise livestock or grow forage for feed.

Even the possibility of disaster is different from farm to farm, ranging from drought to derechos and hail storms to hurricanes.

That’s why crop insurance provides farmers with a personalized plan.

Unlike many other farm programs, crop insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product. Instead, protection is personalized to fit an individual farmer’s risk management needs while considering the type of coverage needed and the crops being grown.

There are thousands of crop insurance options, policies, and products for farmers to choose from.

For example, a farmer growing row crops might choose a Revenue Protection plan that provides protection against a loss of revenue caused by low prices, low yields, or both. On the other hand, a farmer who is growing many different types of vegetables or other specialty crops may choose to purchase Whole Farm Revenue Protection. This policy allows farmers to insure a variety of crops at once.

In both scenarios, farmers receive crop insurance coverage at a discount, but must still pay 30-40% of their premium. The coverage that a farmer chooses determines how much of a discount they receive. If farmers choose to take on more risk through lower crop insurance coverage, then they will receive a smaller discount.

Crop insurance also helps beginning farmers and ranchers take on the challenges of farming by providing them with an additional premium discount.

Farmers then receive assistance only in the event of a verified loss. They must also pay a deductible based on the amount of coverage they have chosen.

In other words, farmers share in the cost of their own safety net, acting as a deterrent to risky behavior.

When purchasing crop insurance prior to planting, farmers work with a trained and licensed private-sector crop insurance agent. The crop insurance agent works to understand the entire picture of the farm, and any potential perils, and then helps the farmer select the appropriate crop insurance coverage.

Crop insurance agents are an essential part of the process. South Carolina agent Ben Tillman became a crop insurance agent because he was passionate about helping farmers.

“With crop insurance, in my experience, it’s more of a personal relationship. It’s not just a business relationship. We try and take a consultative approach with our farmers and make sure they understand exactly how crop insurance works and really be a voice for them.”

By providing a personalized risk management plan, crop insurance acts as a safety net for all American farmers. No wonder crop insurance is trusted by farmers and ranchers in all 50 states.

Keep America Growing

America’s farmers grow fresh fruits and vegetables for our dinner tables. They grow the ingredients used in millions of food products. They raise livestock and produce dairy. And farmers grow the cotton, flax, and hemp that clothe us.

Farmers touch our lives in many ways, every single day. National Ag Day recognizes and gives thanks for the contributions of America’s food and fiber producers.

Everyone needs farmers, and farmers need affordable and reliable risk management tools. The farm safety net helps farmers survive the challenges of agriculture and adapt to our changing climate.

Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm safety net. It protects more than 490 million acres, ensuring that America’s farmers and ranchers can keep producing a safe and affordable supply of food. Importantly, crop insurance supports a healthy farm economy and contributes to the stability of America’s economy.

We all have a vested interest in the success of American agriculture, and crop insurance keeps America growing.

National Crop Insurance Services has invested time in the field, talking to the farmers and ranchers who grow our food and fiber. Farmers like Michael Moore in North Carolina, a third-generation farmer who takes pride in growing healthy food for his community.

Or farmers like Erica Wuthrich, who farms in Iowa with her husband Brent. “Farming isn’t an easy life, but it’s a wonderful life,” Erica said. “And crop insurance helps keep us in our farming operations. My husband and I are young farmers, so if we didn’t have that it would be really hard to farm.”

Watch more real stories from real farmers, crop insurance agents, and crop insurance adjusters on YouTube.

Thank you, farmers! Today and every day!

Congressional Ag Leaders Praise Crop Insurance

Congressional agriculture committee leaders praised the Federal crop insurance program in recorded remarks played yesterday at the crop insurance industry’s 75th annual convention.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-AR, and House Agriculture Chairman Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA-15) and Ranking Member David Scott (D-GA-13) will be the chief architects of the 2023 Farm Bill.

“Farming is one of the riskiest businesses out there. Our farmers need risk management tools they can count on to protect their crops and way of life,” Sen. Stabenow said. “Crop insurance is the number one risk management tool for producers.”

Sen. Stabenow cited the timely and responsive nature of crop insurance as a critical component of the program, especially as farmers stand on the front lines of climate change.

“As farmers increasingly face threats from the climate crisis, we need to think about how to expand the crop insurance safety net, so farmers don’t have to rely on ad hoc programs. We need to return to the principles of risk management as we work to protect and to expand crop insurance and pass this Farm Bill,” she said.

Sen. Boozman also spoke to the indispensable role of crop insurance in the farm safety net, calling cuts to crop insurance in the Farm Bill a “bad idea.”

“As much as the Farm Bill is a safety net for our farmers, it’s also a safety net for rural America. At its core, so is crop insurance,” he said.

Crop insurance protects more than 490 million acres of American farmland and keeps America growing when disaster strikes.

“I’m interested in looking at ways to improve crop insurance. If we can get more folks participating in higher levels of coverage, we can break the cycle of ad hoc aid,” Rep. Thompson told the gathered crop insurers and industry stakeholders. “Crop insurance coverage is reliable, timely, and predictable.”

“Our crop insurers are so important,” Rep. Scott said. “[Crop insurers] make sure that we maintain the United States having the greatest and the best agriculture system in the world.”

Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm safety net. Learn more about the importance of crop insurance by visiting CropInsuranceInAmerica.org.

Crop Insurance Protects 490 Million Acres, Creating Opportunities for Agriculture

Crop insurance protected more than 490 million acres and $173 billion in liabilities in 2022, providing farmers with a valuable risk management tool, supporting a secure food supply, and contributing to the health and stability of the American economy.

“We’re proud to offer protection to the vast diversity of American agriculture,” said Kendall Jones, chair of National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) and president and CEO of ProAg, in her remarks today to the crop insurance industry’s annual convention.

This year marked the convention’s 75th anniversary, and Jones praised the modern, data-driven, and responsive nature of crop insurance, while outlining an innovative future for the industry.

Crop insurance is designed to provide opportunity for farmers, and Jones urged Congress to consider “a Farm Bill that further strengthens crop insurance, so that it works for more farmers, more crops, and more acres.”

A strong crop insurance program is critical as farmers work to improve their resiliency and make investments in the health of their land.

“Our farmers are on the front lines when it comes to weather disasters, and it is important that we maintain a strong and consistent crop insurance program so that our food supplies and economic stability aren’t a casualty of climate change or volatile global events,” Jones said.

Jones explained that since its beginning, the crop insurance industry has been built on constant data analysis and actuarial soundness. Farmers also invest in their own safety net, paying more than $6.8 billion in crop insurance deductibles in 2022 to protect their crops.

“The crop insurance industry is protecting the American farmer while being a good steward for the American taxpayer,” she said.

The crop insurance industry has also invested heavily in science, with 2023 marking 100 years of agronomic research conducted by crop insurers to improve policies and procedures. Jones emphasized that the industry would continue to invest in new technology to better serve America’s farmers, champion initiatives to empower underserved farmers, and partner with farmers on conservation efforts.

In his remarks, Tom Zacharias, president of NCIS, challenged the crop insurance industry to leave agriculture better than they found it.

“It is only through collective work towards a better, stronger farm safety net that the crop insurance industry has been able to leave our individual mark on agriculture. For 75 years, we’ve worked together to build a data-driven and affordable crop insurance program,” Zacharias said.

Zacharias also thanked former House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway and Frank Lucas for leaving agriculture and crop insurance better than they found it through their leadership.

Michigan Crop Insurance Adjusters, Agents Play Key Role in Food Supply

Larry Westerhoven knows apples.

As a crop insurance adjuster in Michigan, it’s his job to say what a crop is worth after hail or frost.

“If a guy has problems with his crop, I go out and appraise it,” he said. “I put a value on that crop. Most of these guys around here raise apples for the grocery stores, bagged apples or tray packs or this and that. So, I’ll make an appraisal on that and put a grade on the apples and then they make a decision what they want to do with it.”

Larry was one of several crop insurance adjusters and agents National Crop Insurance Services visited on our recent trip to Michigan.

Scott Colville’s family has been selling crop insurance since 1967. He takes pride in helping farmers stay in business after weather disasters.

“The reason crop insurance even exists is to help the American people and keep the food prices down,” he said. “And you can only do that if the farming community is able to farm and continue farming in a bad year. I would like to see Congress protect what we have in crop insurance and expand it.”

Colton Geiger, a field marketing representative, enjoys working with insurance agents to make sure they understand the latest products and the changes in the industry. He comes from a farming family.

“I think the work really matters in terms of working with farmers and making sure that they can keep farming for years to come,” he said. “Something that I grew up with, you know, in my family, just carrying that farming tradition on down the line.”

Back on the apple farm, Larry said its gratifying to help a farmer make a good decision about a crop because the margins have become so slim.

He hopes Congress will maintain and expand crop insurance in the next Farm Bill.

“Well, I just ask Congress, do they want to eat?” he said. “You want to put these guys out of business or we don’t grow food in this nation anymore? You know, we’re still a leader in food production. I’d like to see us stay there.”

Watch these stories and more at CropInsuranceInAmerica.org.

Celebrating America’s Farmers & the Policies that Protect Them

Brett Anderson walked the rows on his Michigan farm and inspected a strong crop of apples. He grabbed one and looked closer at a small indentation with an eye informed by 100 years of family experience.

The little indentation probably won’t mean much by harvest. Brett has seen hailstorms that beat and bruised his apples to the point where the value dropped to a quarter of what this crop may bring.

“Thankfully, this year we’ve been really blessed,” he said.

Brett’s family farm is just one of approximately two million farms in the United States. On National Farmer’s Day, we celebrate the incredible contributions of American farmers, just like Brett, and the important work that they do to feed, clothe, and fuel our nation.

Each of America’s two million farms is unique, requiring a personalized risk management tool. Thankfully, crop insurance allows America’s farmers and ranchers to create a risk management plan tailored to their needs. Crop insurance insures farms in all 50 states.

“Crop insurance has become so vital…no matter what happens in this coming crop season, I will have the ability to pay my bills, to keep my workers employed, and to be able to continue this this family farm that has been here for over 100 years,” Brett told National Crop Insurance Services on a recent trip to Michigan.

Brett was just one of several farms that we visited to capture the Real Stories of America’s farmers and crop insurance agent and adjusters.

Shelly Hartmann enjoyed a handful of ripe blueberries while inspecting the bushes on her farm.

“The thing I love about blueberries is that, you know, it’s nature’s perfect fruit. There’s no waste, it’s 100 percent consumable,” she said.

Shelly believes Congress should maintain crop insurance as an affordable and available risk management tool in the next Farm Bill. She relies on it at her farm. “Crop insurance is really a big tool that we use here to help us offset any unexpected weather events, production losses, market loss as well,” she said.

Vegetable farmer Travis Horkey pulled the tractor forward as his crew harvested big green bell peppers, loading them bucket by bucket into the cart. Crop insurance is an important tool in helping him with the challenges of farming.

“You never know what’s going to come at us,” Travis said. “We could have a drought all spring and summer followed by a flood in the fall just before harvest. And that would be devastating to our business and also affect our employees and our customers, our suppliers, our community.”

“I like the seasonality of farming,” he continued. “I like the challenge of just bringing all the ends together and getting the job done.”

To farmers from Michigan to Mississippi, Maine to Montana, and every state in between: thank you for getting the job done, every single day.

“The Most Successful Thing We’ve Done in Agriculture”

Former Minnesota congressman Collin Peterson knows farm policy. As Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Peterson played a key role in several Farm Bills. Peterson recently spoke at an Agri-Pulse event about the critical role crop insurance plays in the farm safety net.

“The most successful thing we’ve done in agriculture, and clearly during my career was crop insurance,” Peterson said.

As farm disasters have threatened farms in recent years, Peterson also urged Congress to utilize the next Farm Bill to improve crop insurance and expand coverage where needed, rather than create a separate new permanent disaster program. Peterson warned that a permanent disaster program would “undermine crop insurance.”

Policy experts and politicians aren’t the only ones speaking out in support of crop insurance. We’ve spent the year talking to farmers on the ground about how crop insurance helps them manage their risks and gives them the tools to improve resiliency.

  • “[Crop insurance has] been a tremendous help. It is a very affordable tool that allows you to minimize or manage some risk and have a small return if the weather goes against you.” – Gayle Smith, North Carolina rancher
  • “We use crop insurance for the fact that if something bad happens, we don’t want to lose our livelihood.” – Jim Carroll, fourth-generation Arkansas farmer
  • “Crop insurance helps me relieve the stress knowing that if something happened, disaster happened on the farm, I do have something to fall back on. That I won’t… lose everything.” – Michael Moore, third-generation North Carolina farmer
  • “Crop insurance basically ensures that the growers are going to be farming next year.” – Landrum Weathers, fifth-generation South Carolina farmer and crop insurance agent
  • “Without crop insurance… this farm would not still be here. It would be gone.” – Brian McClam, seventh-generation South Carolina farmer
  • “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.” – Scott Flowers, Mississippi farmer

These testimonials represent the immense trust that farmers place in crop insurance. Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm safety net, insuring 445 million acres in 2021.

It is critical that crop insurance remain affordable, effective, viable, and adaptable. This ensures that farmers have a risk management plan to prepare for the unexpected and the confidence to plant again after disaster.

“It’s going to give us more backstop against the ups and downs of agriculture,” Peterson said. “And that’s always going to be there. You know, it’s just a dangerous business.”

Crop Insurance Basics: Specialty Crops

When you think of farming, you might first think of fields of corn sprawled across the Midwest. But America’s farmers grow many different types of fruits and vegetables, requiring a crop insurance program that is as diverse as the crops it protects.

Crop insurance is a customizable tool that allows America’s farmers and ranchers to create a risk management plan tailored to their needs. That means growers can be covered:

Crop insurance has become the cornerstone of the farm safety net and provides every farmer with access to an affordable risk management tool. A new report from the Economic Research Service (ERS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that over the past two decades, the value of specialty crops protected by crop insurance has tripled. Total specialty crop liabilities have grown from $7 billion in 2000 to $21 billion in 2020. As ERS points out in their report, all farmers face risks, “but the nature of specialty crop production and marketing may heighten exposure to some of these risks.”

Crop insurance has expanded and improved over time, particularly for specialty crops or growers not adequately served by other risk management tools. For example, the 2014 Farm Bill included a new policy specifically meant to expand coverage options for diversified farming operations: Whole-Farm Revenue Protection. The introduction of Whole-Farm Revenue Protection offers diversified farmers – such as fruit and vegetable growers, and organic growers – more flexible, affordable risk management options.

Brian Campbell is a diversified produce farmer in Pennsylvania who credits crop insurance and the protection afforded by Whole-Farm Revenue Protection for his success. “If it wasn’t for whole farm revenue protection today, you know, I may not be at the size that I am,” Brian told National Crop Insurance Services.

Across the country, Lupe Guzman in California also relies on crop insurance to protect his family farming operation, which includes 1,300 acres of certified organic crops, such as avocados, lemons, mandarins, and Valencia oranges.

“By having the crop insurance, we’re able to guarantee that if for some reason we do have a bad freeze, we’ll be able to fall back on that insurance so that we can keep farming the following years,” Lupe said.

Another organic grower, Michael Sahr in Michigan, agrees that crop insurance is important to protecting his farm and our food supply. “Without crop insurance, we’d have so much devastation that the farmers would go out of business, and you would be paying a lot more money for your food,” he said.

“You could have a beautiful crop one day, and the next day, a big weather event happens, and you don’t have that anymore,” Michigan blueberry grower Shelly Hartmann said. “Crop insurance is really a big tool that we use here to help us offset any unexpected weather events.”

An untimely freeze, for example, can destroy a crop of table grapes growing at the Kirschenmann Brothers Farming Company in California. “Crop insurance gives us a little safety net,” Kenneth Kirschenmann said. “It doesn’t solve all the problems if we had a 100 percent wipeout, but it does keep us in business.”

California grower Devon Yurosek farms several tree crops, including pistachios, cherries, and pomegranates. The nature of these crops means that Devon and his family have one shot to make a good crop each year, stay in business, and keep their workers employed.

“We have to be able to pay the bills. In bad years, it’s difficult to do if you don’t have a crop on the trees. That’s where crop insurance has been a huge help to us,” Devon explained.

Produce and other specialty crops aren’t the only non-traditional crop that is covered by crop insurance. Pasture, rangeland, and forage (PRF) insurance helps farmers when they don’t receive the expected rainfall needed to keep their pastures productive for feeding livestock.

Pennsylvania farmer John Ligo turned to his PRF policy when a drought reduced his grass yield on the acres he uses to help feed his 600 head of cattle. “One of those things that we can do to manage crop production risk is crop insurance,” he said.

Farmers trust crop insurance to help them manage the highly specialized risks of farming they face today.

Farmers Praise Crop Insurance at Field Hearings

The House Agriculture Committee recently handed farmers in Minnesota and Ohio the microphone to ask them what rural America would like to see in the next Farm Bill. A common refrain? Protect crop insurance.

We’ve compiled several highlights from these field hearings – check them out below.

Growers in both states stated that a strong crop insurance program is key in the next Farm Bill. It was named as the top Farm Bill priority for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the National Corn Growers Association, and the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association.

As the cornerstone of the farm safety net, it’s clear that crop insurance has earned the overwhelming trust of America’s farmers.

“Crop insurance has demonstrated itself to be an invaluable tool for wheat farmers in Ohio and across the country where we see more frequent weather disruptions and unprecedented increase in prices for inputs,” Ohio farmer Paul Herringshaw said.

The uncertainty of the current farm economy and the financial stress of high input prices were common themes in the hearings.

“High fuel, high crop inputs, economy-wide inflationary pressures, these are all chipping away at margins. Given this, the Farm Bill safety net and crop insurance are… very key to creating a predictable operating environment for these farmers,” explained KC Graner, the Senior Vice President of Agronomy at Central Farm Service, headquartered in Minnesota.

Minnesota’s hosting farmer, Bruce Peterson, cited a number of reasons why crop insurance is important, including the premium discount provided for young farmers. This additional discount for young farmers not only makes crop insurance affordable, but it also allows them to secure an operating loan.

“Once they can take that that crop insurance coverage to their lender, that’s a key point and especially important now with our costs continuing to ratchet higher, much more expensive to put a crop in now than many years ago,” Peterson explained.

Eric Hokanson deals with both sides of the farm and finance equation, growing soybeans in Minnesota while working at farm credit cooperative Compeer Financial. “[Crop insurance] is vital to all sizes and scopes of farms here in the U.S. This allows farmers to hedge their risks and market their crops. This is especially important to young farmers like myself to be able to have a guaranteed source of repayment when disaster strikes or Mother Nature decides to not cooperate,” he testified.

Congress also heard from organic farmers, including Ohio grower Eli Dean, who praised the individualized and responsive nature of crop insurance. “[Crop insurance] works great for our farm. It works great for our communities… if we have a disaster, we are compensated for it quickly.”

We appreciate Congress taking the time to travel the country to hear directly from America’s farmers. Want to learn more about crop insurance? Visit CropInsuranceInAmerica.org to watch more Real Stories from America’s heartland.

Crop Insurance Keeps Farmers Fighting

Weather is one of a farmers’ top concerns. Just enough sun and rain will power a plant, resulting in a good yield. But too much sun and not enough rain, or too much rain and not enough sun, and a farmer might soon be counting his losses.

The challenges presented by weather volatility was something that we heard repeatedly from farmers in hurricane-prone South Carolina. Fifth-generation farmer Landrum Weathers said that “every year that we don’t get a named storm that hits here is a good year.”

Landrum farms corn, peanuts, soybeans and cotton while also working as a crop insurance agent with the Agriliance Insurance Group. He said choosing to purchase crop insurance is not a difficult decision. It helps sustain his farm, so he can keep producing food and fiber.

“Crop insurance basically ensures that the growers are going to be farming next year. That means that our country doesn’t have to call somebody else, I don’t care who, to get food,” Landrum said.

J.C. Carroll, who founded Agriliance Insurance Group alongside Ben Tillman, echoed Landrum’s comments on food security, explaining “it’s important for farmers to protect themselves with crop insurance. I think that crop insurance is our best safety net… It gives us food security.”

Weather was also top of mind for Johnny Watts, a fourth-generation farmer who grows corn and soybeans and raises cattle. “Every time a storm makes up out in the Atlantic, you kind of hold your breath and, you know, is this going to be it.”

Each storm brings with it a feeling of hopelessness. Farmers can prepare for every scenario, but they can’t hold back Mother Nature.

“You could have a great crop today. Tomorrow, you may not,” Johnny said.

“No farmer wants to have a loss,” explained Brian McClam, a seventh-generation farmer. Brian grows cotton, soybeans, and corn, and has had a couple close calls when it comes to natural disasters.

“Without crop insurance… this farm would not still be here. It would be gone,” Brian said.

Several years ago, seventh-generation farmer Neal Baxley watched as a foot and a half of rain washed away the crops he was about to harvest. An entire growing season, and the expenses and inputs and time that went into that season, gone.

Crop insurance helped soften the blow. Neal said there is a misconception that crop insurance covers a farmer’s entire loss. “It’s not going to make him completely whole but it’s a tool that can try to help him get him through to the next year.”

As Johnny Watts said, “You live to fight another day because of crop insurance.”

Watch these stories and more at CropInsuranceInAmerica.org.

American Farmers Feed the World

“If you really want to get in the weeds or, in a lot of cases, in the dirt with crop insurance, you need to go out to the field.”

National Crop Insurance Services recently did just that, traveling to North Carolina to capture the real stories of both the farmers who rely on crop insurance and the people who provide coverage advice. That’s where we met Ruth Fulford, a crop risk advisor and care consultant with Flatlands Insurance Group.

Ruth, who was the recipient of the 2022 Crop Insurance Outstanding Service Award for outreach to limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers, is one of the many agents who write crop insurance policies in North Carolina. These policies protect crops such as corn, soybeans, wheat, sorghum, cabbage, sweet potatoes, sage, peanuts, produce and more. Collectively, crop insurance protects 3.5 million acres and more than $2.1 billion worth of crops in North Carolina.

Farmers across the state trust crop insurance to help them manage their risks. Farmers like Rena Eure, who owns a family farm with her husband and son. “What I love about farming is just being able to be out in nature and put a seed in the ground and watch it grow.”

The work of farming is the easy part, Rena told us. It’s the weather risks, financial stress, and supply chain challenges that make farming difficult. And there is a lot riding on the line.

“If we don’t have farmers, we don’t have food or the fiber you know, for the world basically,” Rena said.

Cattle rancher Gayle Smith pointed out that farmers do what they do because they love it. “We feel good about what we do because we provide a quality product for a world, and we willingly make those sacrifices.”

Even though she raises livestock, Gayle considers herself a grass farmer, first and foremost, with the cattle acting as large lawnmowers. But when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate, and Gayle doesn’t have enough grass or hay to feed her cattle, that’s when she turns to crop insurance.

“It’s been a tremendous help. It is a very affordable tool that allows you to minimize or manage some risk and have a small return if it if the weather goes against you,” Gayle said.

This message was echoed by Charlotte Vick, who grows row crops alongside her parents on the farm they started with just 25 acres in 1975. “That’s really the main reason that we carry the crop insurance. To try to protect against the weather because you know, we’re at the mercy of Mother Nature.”

America’s farmers and ranchers are the foundation of our food supply and critical drivers to the farm economy. The Moore family understands this better than most. Michael is a third-generation family while Antoine is a branch loan officer at AgCarolina Farm Credit and farms with his father.

“Crop insurance helps me relieve the stress knowing that if something happened, disaster happened on the farm, I do have something to fall back on. That I won’t lose, completely, lose everything,” Michael said.

Antoine, on the other hand, pointed out that having a solid risk management plan is a critical consideration for lenders, giving them more certainty when approving farm loans. “Certainly, that makes a huge impact, not just on that farmer, but also on that rural community that relies on that farmer to produce a crop,” Antoine said.

Watch these stories and more at CropInsuranceInAmerica.org.

Crop Insurance Protects Farmers from Sea to Shining Sea

As we celebrate America’s independence this weekend, let’s also take a moment to celebrate the incredible farmers and ranchers who feed America. Farmers are key to maintaining our freedom and our food security. 

That is why we work hard to ensure that all farmers have the tools they need to manage their risks and grow the crops that feed, fuel and clothe America. Crop insurance provides an invaluable safety net for farmers in all 50 states – from sea to shining sea. 

How does crop insurance protect your state? Visit CropInsuranceInMyState.org to explore 50 brand-new fact sheets highlighting the state-by-state economic impact of agriculture and the importance of crop insurance.

In total, crop insurance protects more than 440 million acres of American farmland. Each of these acres represent a farming family: some are continuing a long legacy of agriculture, while others are the first generation to farm. Each farm is an integral part of our nation’s food supply and our economy.

We’re proud that crop insurance keeps America growing.

Visit CropInsuranceInMyState.org to download a fact sheet for your state

A Safety Net for our Food Supply and the Farm Economy

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.”

Learn more about the people behind the policies.

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.

Crop Insurance Keeps Family Farms Alive

Jim Carroll, a fourth-generation farmer in Brinkley, Arkansas, is no stranger to the “bad times” that come with farming. Some years, it feels like he’s just trying to survive.

That’s why Jim invests in crop insurance. “We use crop insurance for the fact that if something bad happens, we don’t want to lose our livelihood, not being smart enough to take a little crop insurance out,” he explained in a new video.

Crop insurance helps Jim manage his risks and protect the farm in the hopes that one day, his grandson will take over as the fifth generation. “My hope is he’ll like this because there’s something unique about being able to put a seed in the ground and watch it come up and develop.”

National Crop Insurance Services is dedicated to sharing the stories of the people behind crop insurance policies. Each one is important, whether it’s the farmers who rely on crop insurance to keep growing after disaster or the agents and adjusters who are dedicated to preserving a strong agricultural economy.

Watch more Real Stories here.

Our most recent trip to the field took us to the rich farmland of Arkansas and Mississippi. Tim Ralston in Atkins, Arkansas, farms rice, soybeans, and corn while raising cattle. The jasmine rice he grows is so fragrant, he said “you can actually smell it when you pull into the field.”

Tim recalled a 500-year flood that threatened his farm and damaged his rice. His crop insurance policy quickly delivered aid to help cover his losses.

“Crop insurance kind of provides a safety net to where you know what the minimum return is going to be. And if you can live with that minimum return and then, you know, you can survive and go forward,” Tim said.

“With [crop insurance], you know it was devastating as it was, but without it, it would have been catastrophic.”

Watch these stories and more at CropInsuranceInAmerica.org.

Heard from the Field: Michigan Farmers Share Insights with Senate

Last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee held its first field hearing in preparation for the 2023 Farm Bill. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member John Boozman (R-Ark.) traveled to Sen. Stabenow’s home state of Michigan to hear from local farmers and other key stakeholders about the farm policies that are key to keeping their farms running and their local communities fed. It is no surprise that crop insurance was a common topic in several of these testimonies.

That’s because farmers are facing many risks, especially as climate-driven loss events increase. Juliette King McAvoy, who grows tart cherries and other specialty crops at King Orchards in Northern Michigan, said that crop insurance helps their family farm deal with the threats posed by volatile spring weather.

“Crop insurance absolutely helps us manage risk,” McAvoy said. “We’ve had increased frequency of crop loss and I cannot imagine trying to survive without it. There are not many business models that can withstand the kind of volatility that we are experiencing.”

McAvoy also said that crop insurance gives her the certainty and the confidence to continue her family’s long-term investment in their orchard. “The crop insurance plans do not make us whole (typical plans insure 60% of a crop), but they are so important to ensure that we can keep the orchards maintained and make it to another season,” she wrote in her submitted testimony.

Allyson Maxwell, co-owner of Peter Maxwell Farms, shared similar sentiments about the importance of a strong crop insurance program.

“The safety net provided by crop insurance is vital to maintaining the agriculture industry in this country, especially in the face of increasingly unpredictable disasters like drought, flood, and extreme weather,” Maxwell said. “It’s a really, really important risk tool that we have…and we’re really grateful for it and the fact that it is protected by our Farm Bill.”

She recalled watching her aunt and uncle almost lose their Missouri farm in the 1980s because they did not have crop insurance. Thankfully, their farm survived, and today, they also rely on crop insurance.

Jake Isley, a 6th generation farmer and soybean grower at Stewardship Farms, stressed to the committee that crop insurance must remain affordable in the 2023 Farm Bill.

“Our risk management program on which soybean farmers and our lenders rely on heavily is crop insurance. We must continue to have an affordable crop insurance program. With input costs higher in every area of my operation, I cannot afford to have the crop insurance premium subsidy reduced in this next Farm Bill,” Isley said.

We’re proud that crop insurance has earned the trust and confidence of Michigan farmers, as Sen. Stabenow noted as well.

“One of the things that came up over and over again is crop insurance, which is so critical, particularly in these times with weather getting worse and worse and worse,” Stabenow said. “Our farmers, they’re not asking for a handout. They want help to make sure there’s a backstop that helps them with their risk.”

The testimony from Michigan’s farmers has made it clear that Congress must continue to support a strong crop insurance program in the 2023 Farm Bill.

Risk Management Discussion Shines Spotlight on Crop Insurance

“I can honestly say I would not be sitting here if it was not for crop insurance,” wheat grower Nicole Berg recently told an audience in Washington, DC.

Last year, Berg turned to crop insurance when she was only able to harvest a third of her farm due to drought and arid conditions. Crop insurance provided a vital safety net.

Preserving and strengthening that safety net for all farm producers was a key topic at the annual Ag & Food Policy Summit, hosted by Agri-Pulse. Berg, who is President of the National Association of Wheat Growers, spoke on a panel that focused on managing risks and crop losses on the farm.

“All farmers want to do is stay in business another year,” she said.

The Ag & Food Policy Summit brought together policymakers, farm leaders, and commodity experts for policy discussions that will help shape the 2023 Farm Bill. Crop insurance is expected to remain farmers’ number one risk management tool.

“Our farmers say: crop insurance is a cornerstone of the Farm Bill. Don’t mess with it, just make it better,” said Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

Duvall noted that the Farm Bill should reflect the importance of farmers to our national security. That means protecting the farmers who maintain our abundant food supply. Unlike ad hoc disaster programs, which can sometimes take years to deliver assistance, arriving too late to save the family farm after disaster, crop insurance can provide timely assistance to farmers who face unforeseen challenges.

The strengths of crop insurance have made it the ideal risk management tool, said Tom Zacharias, President of National Crop Insurance Services.

  • Its public-private partnership increases efficiency and strengthens program integrity;
  • Its adaptability allows crop insurance to adjust for future risks;
  • Risks and costs are shared between taxpayers, insurers and the government, and;
  • Farmers receive help in just days or weeks, allowing them to count on the predictability of crop insurance to deliver assistance when they need it most.

America’s farmers overwhelmingly trust crop insurance to help them manage their risks. Today, crop insurance provides protection for more than 130 different commodities and covers farmers in all 50 states. Last year, crop insurance insured a record 462 million acres, providing $137 billion dollars in protection. That’s more than 90 percent of major crop insurable farmland in America.

Still, crop insurers and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency are continually working together to improve crop insurance to better protect farmers. In the next Farm Bill, that will mean giving USDA the tools it needs to expand affordable coverage for specialty crop producers.

“Roughly $90 billion a year in specialty crops are planted in the United States, and about $19-20 billion of those specialty crops are covered by crop insurance. The delta is not small, but it has been closing, and that’s a positive,” said Kam Quarles, CEO of the National Potato Council and a member of the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance.

Quarles noted that there are more than 300 specialty crops, and each is grown differently, requiring USDA to analyze a significant amount of data. “It has an impact on how those products are priced, how they’re constructed. That’s an ongoing discussion as we look at this Farm Bill: how do we sit down with USDA and the industry, develop better data to make more affordable, useful products,” Quarles said.

As Congress considers next year’s Farm Bill, leaders encouraged farmers to speak out about how crop insurance gives farmers the certainty they need to keep farming.

Thank You, Farmers and Ranchers!

There is no greeting card or time-honored holiday tradition for National Agriculture Day, but it’s arguably one of the most important days of the year.

That’s because it’s a day to celebrate America’s farmers and ranchers and recognize their incredible contributions. After all, without farmers, we wouldn’t have food on our tables, clothes in our closets, or biofuels available at the pump.

There are approximately two million farms in America. That’s less than one percent of our nation working sunup to sundown (and sometimes all night long) to provide nearly 330 million Americans with an abundant and affordable supply of food, fiber and fuel.

While fewer and fewer people have a close connection to agriculture, our nation’s rich farming traditions live on in our farm families. In fact, about 98 percent of farms are family farms, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s annual America’s Diverse Family Farms report. These family farms are responsible for 87 percent of farm production.

At National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS), we have spoken to family farmers across the country about the importance of protecting our farmers and ranchers. Farmers like Erica Wuthrich in Iowa. Erica grew up farming and is hoping to continue this legacy for generations to come.

“The majority of the families around here are farmers,” Erica told NCIS. “If we didn’t have the farming operations around here, it wouldn’t be good – it would be awful.”

As young farmers, Erica and her husband, Brent, rely on the stability provided by crop insurance to keep their farm growing, through good seasons – and bad. They’re not alone. Crop insurance is trusted by farmers to protect 460 million acres of farmland and more than $137 billion in food, fiber, and fuel.

So, as we share our gratitude for our farmers, it is equally important that we give them the tools that they need to succeed by maintaining a reliable farm safety net and a strong crop insurance program.

Happy National Agriculture Day!

What Farmers Are Telling Congress About Crop Insurance

Yesterday, the House Agriculture Committee invited various commodity groups to testify before the committee on Title I programs in the Farm Bill. This hearing kicked off the committee’s examination of the Farm Bill programs that help provide stability to America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities as they do the hard work of feeding, fueling, and clothing our nation.

While crop insurance was not the focus of this hearing, it was no surprise that the importance of the crop insurance program was reiterated time and time again. That’s because crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm safety net and trusted by farmers to protect more than 90 percent of insurable farmland in America.

Commodity leaders from across the country, representing tens of thousands of farmers growing a diverse range of crops, praised the crop insurance program, speaking at times about their personal farming experience. In their own words, here’s what they had to say about crop insurance:

“ASA must share for the record the high importance of crop insurance to soybean farmers. Soybean farmers consistently communicate that this is the most effective component of the farm safety net when viewed more broadly… Crop insurance must remain affordable for producers.” – Brad Doyle, American Soybean Association

“Last year, I didn’t harvest a third of my farm. And so, I had to utilize the safety net of crop insurance, and it was there, and I’d have to say, it’s kept the family farm in business.” – Nicole Berg, National Association of Wheat Growers

“We know that agricultural markets are cyclical, and an effective safety net is imperative for the inevitable times of low prices. The combination of commodity program options and crop insurance gives farmers as well as their lenders the confidence entering planting season knowing that downside risk is mitigated in periods of steep price decline or a significant loss of production.” – Jaclyn Ford, National Cotton Council

“Crop insurance is #1. It is our #1 best risk-management tool, and we need to continue with that. It is a vital piece.” – Chris Edgington, National Corn Growers Association

“As we are seeing continuous erratic weather patterns – longer and more extreme droughts in some regions and more frequent flooding in other areas – the farm safety net and robust crop insurance program that helps farmers adequately mitigate risk and volatility becomes vital to the sustainability and continuation of family farms.” – Verity Ulibarri, National Sorghum Producers

“I hope that the stability and certainty of the farm safety net that the Title I and crop insurance programs represent will remain the top priority and driving force in the timely reauthorization of a bipartisan Farm Bill in 2023. Farmers, as well as consumers that rely on the food we produce, are facing a lot of challenges and uncertainty. Additional instability and uncertainty in the fam safety net and our food production system is the last thing we need.” –  Clark Coleman, National Sunflower Association, National Barley Growers Association, U.S. Canola Association, and the USA Dry Pea and Lentil Council

The message to Congress was loud and clear: to best serve America’s farmer and ranchers, crop insurance must be protected and strengthened in the next Farm Bill.

Growers, Lenders, Conservationists Call on Congress to Back Crop Insurance in Farm Bill

Crop insurance is a vital risk management tool that should be maintained and strengthened in the next Farm Bill, according to a panel of commodity growers, lenders, and conservationists.

The panel was part of the Monday presentations at the crop insurance industry’s annual conference in California.

“Crop insurance is one of our most important tools for our growers in terms of protecting their yields as well as their revenue,” said Jake Westlin of the National Association of Wheat Growers.

Wayne Stoskopf, of National Corn Growers Association, said crop insurance has been the cornerstone of the farm safety net for the majority of corn growers.

“It works really well,” he said. “I don’t expect that to change at all. They are continuing to innovate and look at things like the post application coverage endorsement (PACE) as something that our growers identified as a need for split nitrogen practices and wanted to continue to see advancements and innovations there.”

Robbie Minnich, of National Cotton Council, said crop insurance is very important to cotton growers.

“As you all well know almost every acre of cotton gets some level of crop insurance,” he said. “So, we want to make sure crop insurance is there, it’s available, it’s affordable and we can do whatever we can do to support the industry.”

Ben Mosely, of USA Rice Federation, said innovations in crop insurance are making it more attractive to rice growers.

“Obviously there’s a lot of new crop insurance policies and endorsements that have come on in the last 10 plus years that are very attractive to us,” he said. “We are taking on more crop insurance acreage every year. It’s been a great program.”

Skylar Sowder, of Farm Credit Council, said crop insurance is hugely important to lenders.

“It is a vital risk management tool,” she said. “Additionally, a lot of our farm credit associations also provide crop insurance as a service to their customers.”

Kellis Moss, of Ducks Unlimited, said his group is a proud to partner with the crop insurance industry.

“We’d like to see as many acres in production have crop insurance on their farms as possible,” he said. “And we couldn’t be prouder of our partnership, or relationship. We think it’s great. It’s continuing in a good direction.”

Crop Insurance Continues to Earn the Trust of America’s Farmers and Ranchers

As agriculture faces new challenges and a changing climate, crop insurance remains the number one risk management tool for America’s farmers and ranchers, according to the chair of National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS). Last year, crop insurance protected a record 460 million acres of farmland and more than $137 billion in food, fiber, and fuel.

Kendall Jones, chair of NCIS and president and CEO of ProAg, made her remarks at the start of the industry’s annual meeting in California.

“The scale and size of crop insurance further demonstrate that farmers have come to rely upon our industry when the going gets tough,” she said. “We need to build on that credibility as the environment farmers operate in continues to evolve. We are in position to continue to modernize and improve – adapting risk management tools to the risk.”

Farmers invested $5 billion dollars of their own money through premiums in 2021 to protect their crops. Jones said the increasing popularity of crop insurance should come as no surprise.

“The crop insurance industry has established credibility with farmers and policymakers. It all starts with trust,” she said. “The American farmers and ranchers rely on the crop insurance industry to be there when they need us as they set up their operating loans, in times of natural weather disasters or during financial distress from market pressure.”

Among the most highly discussed topics of the conference was how the industry is improving to meet the changing needs of agriculture. Jones praised the data-driven nature of crop insurance, explaining that it has made crop insurance uniquely adept at helping America’s farmers respond to climate change.

“As farmers deal with new challenges, it is important to maintain the integrity and credibility of the Federal crop insurance program, but we need to acknowledge it will not stay the same,” she said.

Jones pointed to the work that the crop insurance industry has done alongside the U.S. Department of Agriculture to facilitate the voluntary adoption of climate-smart agriculture and champion more diversity and equity within agriculture.

She set the stage for the upcoming Farm Bill debate by noting the large percentages of new members in both the Senate and House agriculture committees along with changes in leadership in both committees.

Recently, a diverse coalition representing 55 farming, banking, and conservation organizations called on government officials to oppose cuts to crop insurance in the Farm Bill. The coalition delivered letters to the House and Senate budget and appropriations committees, as well as to the Secretary of Agriculture and Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, emphasizing the importance of crop insurance as a risk management tool.

“There are always new ideas from new voices to be heard in the Farm Bill discussion,” she said. “How we share our collective story and listen to their perspectives will help influence the process.”

The Three “C’s”: Crop Insurance, Climate, and Conservation

Over the past several years, farmers have dealt with immense climate and weather-related challenges. America’s farmers have survived droughts, hurricanes, derechos, floods, fires and a global pandemic. Through it all, farmers have kept farming. One constant throughout these past several years has been the availability of Federal crop insurance.

Recently, the Crop Insurance Coalition, a group representing farmers, lenders, agricultural input providers and conservation groups, sent letters to the Biden Administration and other congressional leaders asking them not to propose cuts to crop insurance in the upcoming FY2023 budget.

“Crop insurance [is] a farmer’s first line of defense against climate change and other disasters. As the challenges for America’s farmers and ranchers continue to grow, we believe crop insurance as a safety net is only becoming more important to stability in rural America…It is no accident that the most recent farm bills emphasized risk management, and in doing so, protected the interests of American taxpayers.”

Those familiar with the development of Federal crop insurance will recall that 1995 was the first year of implementation of the Crop Insurance Reform Act of 1994. The 1994 Act was in response to the extreme flooding and excessive moisture conditions occurring in the Midwest. Since the inception of the Act, acres insured have essentially doubled while coverage has increased more than five times.

Crop insurance is available nation-wide, and protection is provided for all eligible farmers. Accordingly, crop insurance has provided support to farmers that experienced losses due to a variety of adverse events across the country. Prominent examples since the 1993 flooding include:

  1. 2011 extreme drought in the Southern Plains coupled with flooding along the Missouri River
  2. 2012 drought
  3. 2019 excessive moisture conditions resulting in farmer prevented planting losses
  4. 2020 Midwest derecho
  5. Hurricane losses in the Southeast in 2020
  6. Drought in the Northern Plains in 2021

It is important to point out that as farmers with crop insurance have been financially protected from these weather events, the crop insurance program has operated well within its statutorily required actuarial soundness mandate. Since 1995, crop insurance premiums have exceeded indemnities.

Crop insurance’s mission is about more than the number of catastrophic weather events and dollars going out the door. It’s personal. Family farmers depend on crop insurance to maintain their way of life and support the local agricultural economy. For many rural towns, a healthy and resilient agricultural economy is also vital to their economic success.

Critics of the Federal crop insurance program have stated that the program does not encourage or require farmers to adapt to climate change. Such criticism ignores the evolution of the program to accommodate the integration of conservation programs and farmer initiatives to incorporate climate smart farming practices.

The guidelines for program participation, based on good farming practices, have evolved over time. Since 2014, farmers have been required to report their conservation plans in order to be eligible for crop insurance. In the 2018 Farm Bill, the use of cover crops was incorporated into the portfolio of good farming practices.

In a study published in 2020 in the Journal of Environmental Management, the authors report that crop insurance and conservation practices serve unique roles and are used simultaneously. Further, they report that the crop insurance program is not a barrier to the adoption of conservation practices such as cover crops and conservation tillage among Midwest farmers.

According to the study, “…results suggest that resiliency for Midwest operations includes both crop insurance and conservation practices. Neither behavior was found to inhibit the other. On the contrary, corn producers experienced complimentary outcomes from a combined approach that was greater than participation in either behavior by itself.

To state that the modern-day crop insurance program does not support farmers’ efforts to adapt to climate change or reduce greenhouse gas emissions is simply not true.

The Federal crop insurance program has demonstrated the flexibility to accommodate change. These changes have been, and will continue to be, science based, data driven, and provide incentives for voluntary participation by farmers.

Soybean Leadership Gives Crop Insurance High Marks

Farmers are counting on Congress to maintain risk management as a top priority in the new Farm Bill, the American Soybean Association’s president, Brad Doyle, said recently on Agri-Pulse’s Open Mic.

Congress could begin debate on the 2023 Farm Bill as early as this month. Doyle’s association represents 500,000 U.S. soy farmers on domestic and international policy issues and is surveying members this winter on farm bill topics. It plans to share with Congress a list of priorities.

“Risk management, I believe, if you look at crop insurance, is used on about 90 percent of the soybean acres in the United States. That would be devastating to take that tool away. It is a great program. It gives us financial security when disaster happens, such as a tornado or a large weather event or flooding even. So, we are going to stand by the risk management tools that we have, such as crop insurance.”

In addition to his remarks on risk management and crop insurance, Doyle spoke about the inability to find adequate inputs such as fertilizers and herbicides and how that could impact growers in 2022. He also mentioned that trade, rising inflation and labor shortages continue to be concerns for farmers across the country. You can listen to Doyle’s interview on Agri-Pulse’s Open Mic here.

Crop insurance stands ready to help farmers and ranchers during these challenging times. We thank the American Soybean Association for its support of proven risk management tools like crop insurance.

Crop Insurance Basics: Historic Drought Loss

It has been an exceptionally difficult crop year for many of America’s farmers and ranchers as drought conditions in the West and northern Plains have distressed crops and grazing lands. Approximately 210 million acres of crops are experiencing some level of drought conditions.

Millions of farmers trust crop insurance to help manage their risks, including drought, and farmers have already spoken out about the importance of the farm safety net and crop insurance during years like these.

“Many of our risk management programs, like crop insurance, will be vitally important this year for those producers,” National Association of Wheat Growers Executive Director Chandler Goule said after touring drought-stricken wheat fields in the Dakotas and Minnesota. “Most of the producers we’ve talked to…I’m not going to say they were optimistic but very thankful they had crop insurance programs.”

While the full extent of drought damage is yet to be revealed, crop insurers are already engaged with farmers and ranchers on the ground to help them navigate this historic drought. Currently, more than 90 percent of America’s row crop farmland is protected by crop insurance, and we stand at the ready to keep America growing – no matter the size or scope of the disaster.

So, how does crop insurance respond to a historic drought? We don’t need to look very far back in the history books to find the answer.

In 2012, drought gripped America’s heartland, leaving most of the country reeling from at least some level of drought. It was one of the worst disasters to hit American agriculture in decades.

“Going out in the fields… is a thoroughly depressing experience,” Illinois farmer David Andris told National Crop Insurance Services at the time. “If we didn’t have crop insurance…this year might be the end of it for me.”

The decrease in corn production per acre in 2012 was the largest caused by a drought since 1988.

Farmer Robert Geddes emphasized the importance of having crop insurance during 2012 for the “nasty years like this.” Growers in his area had invested a lot into growing the best crop possible, only to see it lost to drought. If farmers didn’t have the safety net provided by crop insurance, “they’d truly be hurting.”

Thankfully, crop insurance performed extremely well. It quickly and efficiently delivered aid to rural America – exactly as Congress designed.

The public-private partnership of crop insurance meant that farmers weren’t left waiting for years for some form of ad-hoc disaster assistance. Private-sector insurance adjusters quickly assessed damage in the field and crop insurance companies worked swiftly to finalize more than one million claims. This gave farmers the certainty to plan for the next planting season.

Not only did crop insurance help farmers and ranchers weather the drought of 2012, ensuring the security of our food and fiber supply, but crop insurance had a positive impact throughout the rural economy.

An economic study commissioned by Farm Credit Services of America found that in Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming alone, crop insurance indemnities from the 2012 drought generated enough off-farm income to save 20,900 non-farming jobs.

Our thoughts are with the farmers and ranchers who are currently dealing with this devastating drought. But history shows us that we will face this challenge together – just as we have before.

Farmers Emphasize to Congress Importance of Crop Insurance

Farmers from across the country testified last week before a House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing examining the efficacy of the farm safety net.

While each grower had a unique story to share, a common thread quickly became clear: America’s farmers depend on the Federal crop insurance program.

Read in their own words what crop insurance means to America’s farmers:

“Crop insurance is a vital tool for farmers, and Congress must not do anything to undermine it.” – Wes Shannon, peanut and cotton farmer in Georgia

“Crop insurance is a cornerstone of my operation. Our ability to market our grain, manage our risks and financially survive depends on crop insurance. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are invested in a growing crop that can be wiped out in one weather event. And there are broader impacts on the ag economy. Considering what farmers spend on ag inputs, machinery, equipment, and crop protection, we must be successful for everyone else. That’s why crop insurance is so critical for our entire industry.” – Jeff Kirwan, corn and soybean farmer in Illinois

“Federal crop insurance is an absolute mainstay to rural Minnesota and farm families like mine. If Washington does anything on farm policy, it should first do no harm to crop insurance.” – Rob Tate, farmer, crop insurance agent, and crop revenue consultant in Minnesota

“I view the Federal crop insurance program to be a fundamental element of the safety net that secures the survival of domestic food production, which I consider to be of critical national importance for all Americans.” – Brian Talley, specialty crop farmer in California

These testimonies reflect the key role that crop insurance plays in the farm safety net. More than 1.1 million Federal crop insurance policies provide more than $100 billion in coverage across more than 380 million acres of farmland in all 50 states. It’s available to farmers of all sizes and more than 130 commodities.

Throughout the hearing, the growers shared their personal experiences with crop insurance and outlined the strengths of the Federal crop insurance program.

Unlike ad hoc disaster bills, which can take years before help arrives, crop insurance delivers assistance for covered losses in just days or weeks. That’s because crop insurance is built on a unique private-public partnership that draws on the efficiency of the private sector to quickly assess damages and determine losses when Mother Nature strikes.

The crop insurance program also gives farmers predictable tools to manage their unique risks. Farmers invest in crop insurance before a disaster – sharing in the risk – and they know how the rules of their policy will help them recover.

Rob Tate also testified that as an agent, he’s seen how important crop insurance is not only for established farmers, but also beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers who need to secure credit and manage their risks.

It’s no wonder that when everything is on the line, America’s farmers turn to crop insurance. Congress must continue to strengthen the crop insurance program and preserve this vital part of the farm safety net.

Crop Insurance Basics: Available to All

In the everyday insurance world, coverage may sometimes be hard to come by.

That can be true if you’ve had a disaster – such as a fire in your home – or live in an area at high risk for disaster. Car insurance coverage may be more expensive or even denied if you are a very young or very old driver, even if you’ve never had to file a claim.

Crop insurance is different.

Under the crop insurance system that has become the centerpiece of America’s farm policy, private-sector insurance providers must offer insurance to growers who are eligible for coverage and want it – regardless of a farm’s size, location, or cropping choice.

Additionally, crop insurers don’t have control over premium setting. A farmers’ rates are calculated and published by the USDA and, unlike other lines of insurance coverage, prices will not fluctuate between insurance providers.

Crop insurers compete on customer service, not price. And they cannot choose to simply do business with well-established farmers from areas that have a history of lower risk crops.

In fact, the crop insurance system must always look for ways to cover more and more farmers. Such inclusivity is a shared responsibility of the public and private sectors, which have partnered to bring additional public and privately augmented insurance options to the marketplace and keep pace with a constantly evolving agricultural sector.

While crop insurance was originally only available to major crops – such as corn, cotton, and wheat – it now offers coverage on 130 different crops, including most fruits and vegetables. Today, more than 1 million insurance policies provide $100 billion in protection to nearly 400 million acres – including about 90 percent of U.S. crop acreage.

And more policies and options are regularly being added through the USDA’s program to encourage new product development, where insurers work along-side farm leaders and researchers to create new and unique policies for everything from alfalfa seed to all-encompassing whole farm revenue protection.

Furthermore, this partnership teams up to deliver in-depth training services across the country for small and socially disadvantaged farmers to strengthen and broaden their familiarity with the inner workings of business planning and risk management strategies.

It’s a system that has married the best of the private sector with the best of government, and the result has been the most effective, popular farm safety net in the history of agriculture.

Crop Insurance Basics: Good Farming Practices

Suppose you’re a homeowner who intentionally neglects your property, refusing to make basic repairs and even creating unsafe conditions like exposed wires or leaky pipes. Now suppose your house, not surprisingly, is damaged from a resulting fire or flood.

Are you entitled to a full homeowner’s insurance payout?

Of course not. A homeowner’s policy has exclusions and conditions to ensure the homeowner acts responsibly and is not neglectful. Otherwise, fraud could become more commonplace and responsible homeowners would wind up paying more in premiums to offset others’ losses.

Crop insurance is no different and requires responsible stewardship. A farmer who starves a crop of nutrients and water, plants late, or farms in a manner that jeopardizes the insured property would be ineligible for indemnities when the crop fails.

Fortunately, America’s farmers are the most efficient and productive in the world. They are honest and determined to take care of the land that takes care of them. And they do the job right.

Doing the job right in agriculture is officially known as Good Farming Practices, which are defined by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency and required as a condition of insurance.

Good Farming Practices, or GFPs, are constantly evolving to keep pace with new technologies and changes in the market, weather, and land management. These practices are rooted in science and data and are based on regional research. In other words, GFPs must be proven to work.

GFPs are the production methods that farmers follow to cultivate a crop and allow it to make normal progress to maturity, ranging from the timing of planting and harvest to using the best crop rotations, crop inputs, and farming techniques in the area.

Farmers follow GFPs when they choose the right variety of seeds to grow a good crop with high yield potential and a good market price. GFPs also include properly preparing the field, irrigating, fertilizing, and weeding during the growth period. Finally, GFPs mean collecting the mature crop from the field with harvesting methods that maximize output and minimize damage.

GFPs help ensure that production methods do not adversely affect the quantity or quality of production, and to keep up with the latest science and technology, they continually are monitored and improved. Local researchers, agronomists, and USDA extension agents are the keys to helping farmers keep pace with the latest and greatest in their area.

The GFP known as no-till is a great example.

The technique – which leaves crop residue in the field after harvest and a new crop planted using a drill or planter instead of first tilling the ground – is used on more than 65 million acres of farmland today. But it was rarely used until the late 1980s because farmers had long believed that tilling improved yields.

As more and more research showed the production and environmental benefits of no-till, including carbon sequestration and soil health, farmers were encouraged to change the way they farmed.

No-till is just one example. Other environmentally beneficial GFPs that have been adopted by agriculture and embraced by crop insurance in recent years include recognition of new drought-resistant seed varieties, more efficient irrigation systems, buffer strips, cover crops, and precision agricultural technology and equipment.

The flexibility within the insurance system helps expand the list of GFPs as farmers look to new proven technologies and techniques to tackle climate change, improve conservation practices, land management, soil health, water conservation, and any challenge tomorrow brings.

Idaho Farmer: Crop Insurance Helps Farmers Feed America

Located in the southeastern corner of Idaho and situated in a high desert environment more than 5,000 feet above sea level, the town of Rockland can be a difficult location to farm. Extreme weather has the potential to quickly devastate crops.

Fifth generation Idaho farmer Jamie Kress understands these challenges and that’s why Jamie and her husband, Cordell, purchase crop insurance to help mitigate weather and markets risks on their family farm.

Jamie recently penned an op-ed for her local paper sharing her first-hand experiences with crop insurance.

“It’s really frustrating when all of your blood, sweat and tears is out there on the line and Mother Nature is calling the shots at that point,” she wrote.

“Crop insurance is one of those things that lets you sleep a little bit better at night because it protects you from the risks of Mother Nature. It means if you have a crop failure, or you have a yield that is not what it could have been, you won’t be out of business.”

Jamie went to school for accounting and Cordell is an engineer. Their backgrounds help them make data-driven decisions about what works best for their farming operation. That’s why Jamie and Cordell trust crop insurance.

“The protection crop insurance products offer today help farmers manage weather risks, and the markets, so they can stay in business and grow the essential food, fiber and fuel products that are critical to our nation’s safety and security,” Jamie explained.

“Crop insurance is extremely popular with farmers because it is very reliable,” she added.

Jamie has worked to share her family’s farming story with Congress.

“I’ve spent some time in Washington talking to our lawmakers about farming. I always try to help them understand that farming is not just a job – it’s a passion, it’s a lifestyle,” she writes. “For farm families, it is our world.”

And with so much on the line – including our nation’s food supply – Jamie is asking Congress to continue its robust support of the Federal crop insurance program.

“We are grateful that Congress maintained our strong system of crop insurance in the 2018 Farm Bill. As the new leaders take office in Washington, we hope they will keep crop insurance affordable and widely available.”

Crop insurance plays an indispensable role in supporting America’s farmers and ranchers as they invest in sustainable agriculture and grow the food and fiber products we all depend on. Congress must continue to protect crop insurance so that farmers and ranchers have the tools they need to succeed.

Through Tough Years and Unexpected Hardships, Crop Insurance Helps Farmers Stay in Business

Just along the Texas-New Mexico border lies the small town of Texline. This west Texas community is where Valerie and Michael Diller raised their family while growing corn, wheat, hay and caring for sheep.

Farming isn’t easy, and the Diller family has experienced their fair share of heartbreak. They credit crop insurance with helping their farm weather disaster in an opinion piece recently published in the Amarillo Globe-News.

“For those tough years and unexpected hardships, I am thankful that Congress has supported a strong federal crop insurance program to help get us through,” Michael wrote.

When Valerie and Michael were beginning farmers, a storm badly damaged their wheat and corn crop. The safety net provided by crop insurance saved their farm and allowed them to once again plant the following year. After their firsthand experience with crop insurance, the Dillers became advocates for this critical risk management tool, even selling crop insurance themselves.

Michael wrote in the Amarillo Globe-News:

There is no better way to insure your crop than through the public-private partnership of crop insurance. The protection crop insurance products offer today help farmers manage the risks of Mother Nature and the markets so they can stay in business and grow the essential food, fiber and fuel products that are critical to our nation’s safety and security.

And this year has come with no shortage of obstacles for America’s farmers and ranchers.

…while farming always comes with risks, this year has presented some unique challenges. It’s been a rollercoaster ride on the market this year during this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Corn is at about the lowest price in memory.

Farmers in the west Texas panhandle are really scared about whether they are going to be able to make it next year. The tremendous rise in prices at the grocery store is not reflected at the farm level. These are issues that not only harm the farmers who are trying to make a living, but all of the small businesses and other jobs that farming supports in our community.

That’s why farmers like Valerie and Michael have made their message to Capitol Hill clear: we must maintain a strong and widely available system of crop insurance.

Crop insurance kept the Diller family in business. And crop insurance agents and adjusters are proud to work every day to give a helping hand to farming families across the country.

As Michael concluded, “Now more than ever [crop insurance] is needed to help farmers produce a reliable, high-quality and affordable food supply for our nation.”

North Carolina Apple Grower Says Crop Insurance Key to Food Security

Kenny Barnwell is a fifth-generation apple grower in the mountains of North Carolina. His family farm covers approximately 150 acres and is home to 26 different varieties of apples.

This year has been tough for apple growers in North Carolina, much like farmers across the country. Apple growers have faced weather-related damages to their crop and fear revenue losses due to the COVID-19 threat and a decline in agri-tourism.

Despite the uncertainty, Barnwell takes comfort in knowing that he can rely on crop insurance.

He recently shared the importance of maintaining a strong crop insurance program in a column he wrote in his local paper, the Hendersonville Lightning:

The fact that I have a safety net under me with crop insurance helps me sleep at night, especially this season. I worked as a crop insurance adjuster for about 10 years, so I know just how well this public-private partnership works.

Crop insurance uses the efficiency of the private sector to quickly get relief to farmers so they can stay in business and continue producing the food, fiber and fuel that now, more than ever, are critical parts of our collective safety and security.

Crop insurance covers 3.5 million acres in North Carolina and provides $1.7 billion in protection. And as Barnwell notes in his piece, farmers have a role to play in their own protection by investing in crop insurance policies.

“The government keeps crop insurance affordable and widely available but it’s not free,” Barnwell wrote. “Farmers bought 1.1 million crop insurance policies last year, collectively paying $3.75 billion in premiums and shouldering more than $10 billion in deductibles.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s farmers and ranchers have continued their essential work, feeding our nation. Crop insurance has been by their side every step of the way. Barnwell noted the importance of protecting a steady food supply:

As our nation recovers from the pandemic, and consumers learn more about where their food comes from, I encourage lawmakers to maintain a strong system of crop insurance to help ensure the safety and security of our nation.

Every American can sleep a little bit sounder knowing that crop insurance helps our farmers and ranchers feed our nation, no matter what challenges lie ahead.

Texas Family Says Crop Insurance Saved Their Farm

Valerie Diller met her husband Michael while they were students at West Texas State University.

They decided to return to his hometown of Texline, start a farm and raise a family.

About two years after they started farming, a terrible hailstorm destroyed all of their wheat and badly damaged the corn crop.

Fortunately, they had crop insurance. Without it, the Dillers say in a new video, they would have been out of business

That storm was pivotal for their farm and their lives. They started selling crop insurance after the storm because they saw just how important it was during a disastrous time.

“Truly, we wouldn’t be here today without it,” Valerie Diller says. “We would not be able to live where we live and do what we do. I decided at that point if there was a way to help people, if we could, I wanted to do that.”

Today they grow corn, wheat, hay and raise sheep. Their children decided to come back to farm. Their son is farming with them and their daughter is involved in the sheep business.

It’s been a rollercoaster ride on the market this year for the Dillers, and farmers across America, during this unprecedented time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Corn is at about the lowest price in memory.

Farmers in the west Texas panhandle are scared about whether they are going to be able to make it next year, the Dillers say. The tremendous rise in prices at the grocery store is not reflected at the farm level. They want Congress to know crop insurance is more important than ever.

“When I talk to a guy about federal crop insurance, I tell them there is no better way, no cheaper way, to insure your crop than through federal crop insurance,” Valerie Diller says. “You can’t farm without it.”

Watch the Dillers’ story at CropInsuranceinAmerica.org.

Thank a Farmer This Labor Day

Labor Day is a day to celebrate the achievements of the millions of men and women who keep America running.

This year, don’t forget to thank a farmer.

Approximately 2.6 million Americans work directly on a farm. Nearly 20 million more work in food and other agricultural-related industries.

Farming and ranching are certainly not your average 9 to 5 job. It’s sunup to sundown and sometimes all night long. Farming is a lifetime of commitment to caring for animals or producing a sustainable crop. It’s boots-on-the-ground work that requires equal measures of grit and grace and a little bit of good luck.

Despite the immense challenges that they have been presented with this year, America’s farmers and ranchers have continued to work every day in order to provide America with the most affordable, abundant and safest food supply in the world.

American agriculture keeps our grocery store shelves stocked, even in the midst of crisis, and supports our rural economies. That’s why we’ve made it our work to support America’s farmers and ranchers.

Crop insurance policies protect 380 million acres of land, or more than 90 percent of insurable farmland. Crop insurance is there when disaster strikes to quickly lend a helping hand and ensure that farmers can plant again another year.

We’re proud that America’s farmers invest their own money into sustainable risk management tools by purchasing crop insurance. And we are grateful for the continued bipartisan support from Congress for a strong Federal crop insurance program.

We will always work to ensure crop insurance remains affordable, widely available and economically viable. It’s a critical component of the farm safety net that protects our farmers and ranchers as they do what they do best: work hard to feed the world.

As you head into the holiday weekend, give a moment of appreciation for our farmers and ranchers. We certainly will.

Texas Farmer Hopes for Rain, Counts on Crop Insurance

Rain in West Texas can be scarce. So scarce, in fact, that farmer Brett Schniers wrote in a recent op-ed for the San Angelo Standard-Times that “when you lay down at night, you pray for rain because you don’t know when you’ll see it again.”

Despite the incredible promise of 2020, it has been a tough year for farming and ranching families across the country.

The Schniers family has already faced blistering drought, softball-sized hail that leveled their corn crop and plummeting prices due to the COVID-19 crisis.

“This year, we’ve needed all the help we can get,” Schniers wrote. “That’s why I’m grateful Congress, through the Farm Bill, helps make crop insurance affordable and widely available.”

Farmers and ranchers are resilient. Even in years like 2020, where it seems yet another disaster is always just around the corner. But while he hopes for rain, Schniers knows he can count on crop insurance:

We prepared at the start of the pandemic because we knew, as farmers, we couldn’t stop working. We had to be ready to produce as much food and fiber as we could, even with Mother Nature’s threats and an uncertain market looming.

I’m proud of the work American farmers do every day to make sure our nation is not reliant on imported commodities.

I’m also proud that our leaders in Washington are backing a strong farm safety net with tools like crop insurance.

Crop insurance is a big part of the reason farmers are able to go to work every season despite storms and droughts and faltering commodity markets.

We are proud to provide a critical risk management tool. Crop insurance helps America’s farmers and ranchers produce the affordable and reliable food, fuel and fiber necessary to keep our nation moving forward.

Congress continues to support crop insurance as a cornerstone of the farm safety net and farmers invest their own money in crop insurance to protect more than 90 percent of insurable farmland.

Schniers credits crop insurance with keeping him in business this year, writing, “The American farmer is the backbone of this country. And crop insurance is the backbone of the American farmer. It’s what we stand on.”

We could not agree more. We’re proud to stand side-by-side with America’s farmers and ranchers.

Read Schniers’ full op-ed on the importance of crop insurance at the San Angelo Standard-Times.

Wheat Growers Count on Crop Insurance

This year, America’s farmers and ranchers have faced one challenge after another. For wheat farmers in the west and Midwest, their crop is now threatened by severe drought conditions that could contribute to yield reductions or total crop loss.

Thankfully, more than 90 percent of insurable planted acres are protected by crop insurance, including many of America’s more than 47 million acres of wheat.

Without crop insurance, “producers in these drought-stricken areas could lose their crops without any risk protection, which could drive those farming operations out of business,” wrote Dave Milligan, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, in a recent op-ed for the High Plains Journal.

One wheat farmer in Kansas reported less than one and a half inches of rain in the last year. Others worry about the increased threat from wildfires.

Milligan is a Michigan wheat farmer himself and very familiar with the inherent dangers of farming and the nature of disasters like drought. He wrote that producers need to have reliable access to crop insurance to effectively manage their risks.

Farming is a risky business, and crop insurance is one of the most important policy tools that is relied on to mitigate risk…

As a crucial component for protecting producers and the feasibility of farming, crop insurance provides a risk management tool for unpredictable weather and assists producers in qualifying for the necessary operating loans to produce a crop. With this in consideration, any cuts or reduced access to crop insurance programs could be detrimental to farmers who rely on it to stay in business when disaster strikes.

Crop insurance has been so successful because it relies on a unique partnership between the federal government and the private crop insurance industry. This allows crop insurance to utilize private-sector efficiency to process claims and deliver payments quickly.

As Milligan makes a point of noting, farmers invest their own money into crop insurance:

Crop insurance is such an important policy tool for farmers that they invest their own money to purchase this protection. Farmers spend $3.5 to $4 billion per year to purchase crop insurance and bearing a significant portion of losses through deductibles. The federal government spends less than a quarter of 1% of its budget on farm safety net programs, making this a worthwhile investment to protect the world’s most affordable and safe food supply. Adequate funding of crop insurance should be a high priority for policymakers as agriculture is being hit with low prices, the effects of COVID-19, and other unpredictable disasters.

Milligan also cites the critical role that crop insurance plays in supporting the rural economies that depend on the income generated by farmers and ranchers. Because if America’s farms fail, their communities will be likely to crumble.

We hope that America’s wheat growers experiencing drought will soon see the rain they need. But no matter the storm – or the drought – crop insurance is here for America’s farmers and ranchers.

Maryland Farmer Thankful for Crop Insurance During Uncertain Year

In farming, the future is never certain. It requires trust that a planted seed will sprout and then flourish and hope that weather or market conditions will not upend that year’s crop.

One thing America’s farmers and ranchers did not predict this year: a global health care crisis.

Brooks Clayville grows row crops on his family farm located on the eastern shore of Maryland. Clayville recently authored an op-ed for The Dispatch sharing that, like many farmers, he began 2020 with high hopes before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

“Corn and soybean prices, for the first time in a long time, were expected to improve with the resolution to the ongoing trade wars that have hit rural communities hard,” Clayville wrote. “But the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically interrupted our economy and our food supply chain.”

Every year, Clayville writes, he purchases crop insurance to help protect his crops and ensure that his family farm can survive any challenges that may arise. Including the current pandemic.

Now, more than ever, Clayville believes that crop insurance is an important tool:

Although rural America faces mounting uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mother Nature certainly won’t give anyone a pass this year. Farmers in Maryland and all across America need to maintain the tools that allow them to protect their farms and keep supply chains moving.

The best tool out there for mitigating the risks of weather and prices is the public-private partnership of crop insurance…

Farming is an expensive and risky business. Farmers have to buy all of the inputs that go into growing a successful crop before they know what the final harvest prices will be and without knowing whether a big storm is going to ruin all of their hard work or whether a pandemic will create new challenges that we didn’t plan for this planting season.

And Clayville is concerned not only about the farmers growing our crops, but the rural economies and small-town jobs that are supported by agriculture:

I think about the banks and equipment dealers, hardware stores and grocery stores in my town. If farmers weren’t spending money on Main Street, we’d have no town keeping our rural economies alive and grocery stores stocked is critically important.

The bottom line: farmers require the strong farm safety net provided by crop insurance to provide certainty as they navigate an uncertain world and continue their essential work of feeding and fueling America.

Crop Insurance Protects Essential Food and Fiber Supply

Steve Ward talks to as many lawmakers as he can about farming. Specifically, growing cranberries.

Ward grew up helping his dad on the family farm in Massachusetts, building cranberry bogs and digging ditches. Now, he farms that land with his son.

But growing cranberries is extremely labor intensive and carries a large amount of risk, not the least of which is the constant threat from Mother Nature.

Ward recently wrote a letter to the editor of his local paper, the Taunton Gazette, emphasizing the critical role that crop insurance plays in protecting America’s farmers:

At every step in this process, Mother Nature can destroy the crop.

Too much water can erode a bog. Not enough water can stress the plant. Hail can destroy berries and flowers in minutes. Fire worms can chew through a bog and leave what looks like ashes in their wake.

You can be left with no crops, no income to cover all the input costs and no money to grow again next season.

That’s why the strong farm safety net of crop insurance helps me sleep at night. I would not be in business without crop insurance.

The public-private partnership of crop insurance means farmers get financial help fast after a disaster. It allows them to stay in business and continue to produce the food, fiber and fuel that are essential to our nation’s safety and security.

Crop insurance saved me. I would not be in business without it.

Our farmers and ranchers have continued to work day-in and day-out throughout this pandemic to provide Americans with a safe and affordable food supply. Let’s ensure we continue to provide the protection they need by supporting a strong crop insurance program.

America’s Farmers Remain Open to Feed America

Chip and Karla Bailey own KC Bailey Orchards in Williamson, New York, where they grow apples. They’re proud to help provide for their neighbors as well as customers across America, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The past few months have resulted in some dramatic changes in our daily lives, but for America’s farmers, like the Baileys, there are still crops to be planted, fields to be fertilized and apple trees to be pruned.

The Baileys recently wrote an op-ed published in their local paper, the Times of Wayne County, talking about the essential work America’s farmers and ranchers continue to perform at this critical moment:

This crisis has demonstrated the importance of supporting our farmers and ensuring that we have a stable, safe and affordable food supply.

But with farming comes immense risk. The Baileys write that they are always dealing with weather threats. Hail and frost are not only hard to plan for, but they can be devastating to an apple crop.

That’s why they purchase crop insurance. The Baileys consider crop insurance a fundamental part of the farm safety net and are asking Congress to continue to support this important program:

Farming is our passion. As first-generation farmers, we know the difficulties that come with growing food. The COVID-19 virus has created more challenges and that’s why we are thankful for the steps that Congress has taken to help support rural America by passing aid packages with help earmarked for farmers.

However, it’s important that Congress also support, long-term, the farm policies that assist our family farm and allow us to survive even the difficult years.

That includes tools such as crop insurance.

America’s farmers are still farming. Let’s make sure they have the tools they need.

 

NY Apple Farmer: Hope Has Not Been Cancelled

A family apple farm in New York is reminding America that farmers are still out there growing essential food, fiber and fuel.

Chip and Carla Bailey produced a video at their KC Bailey Orchard in Williamson, NY, with a simple message: Hope has not been cancelled.

“Because of COVID-19 a lot of things have been shut down and cancelled across America,” Chip Bailey said. “But on the farm, springtime is not cancelled.”

The video features the family hard at work pruning, fertilizing and planting trees to get ready for the spring.

The apples they grow are an important and nourishing food source for many communities. The family is proud to grow food for their neighbors right in New York and customers across America.

Their son, Josh, had to leave college after classes were cancelled but he’s happy to be back on the farm helping out.

“I’m able to work on the farm and I think that’s a great opportunity to be back with the team and keep contributing any way I can,” he says.

The Baileys were featured in a video story National Crop Insurance Services produced last year about how crop insurance helps family farms and allows them to survive the difficult years.

“Unfortunately, so many things have been cancelled but America we are growing the food for you,” Chip Bailey says. “And just remember that hope has not been cancelled.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Crop Insurance Backs Farmers During Unprecedented Uncertainty

Crop insurance has been there for rural America through the many uncertainties that farmers and ranchers face every single day. It’s helped agricultural producers survive droughts, tornados, blizzards, floods, low prices, prevented plantings and even volcanos.

Still, over the past few months, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced new and unprecedented challenges as farmers navigate supply chain disruptions and try to predict how this crisis will affect demand for the products they raise. Yet, despite these difficulties, farmers continue their essential work to feed, clothe and fuel our nation.

So, we have no doubt that we will weather this storm, together, as well.

Crop insurance helps manage some of the risk that farmers still face. Because Mother Nature does not abide by stay-at-home orders and droughts, floods and freezes will inevitably occur, regardless of the pandemic.

Now more than ever, as farmers are planting their crops while facing an unpredictable future, crop insurance is a familiar tool, with a track record of success, that farmers can rely on as they work to feed America and the world. And we are proud to be a trusted partner to so many famers across the country, protecting more than 90 percent of planted acres.

Crop insurers, agents and our partners at USDA have been hard at work to support our producers and we are proud to maintain our incredible record of service to the America farmer during these uncertain times.

We are so grateful for rural America’s tireless commitment to ensuring that we have safe, affordable and nourishing food to provide for our families. That’s why, through this pandemic –  and all storms large and small – we’ve got your back.

Giving Thanks for Our Farmers

This Thursday as you gather around the Thanksgiving table with your family and friends, we hope you pause for a moment to give thanks for America’s farmers and ranchers.

Our farmers work long hours all year long to make the Thanksgiving bounty we enjoy possible.

And farmers are thankful for the Federal crop insurance program.

Crop insurance protects the corn and peas on your table, sweet potatoes in the casserole, pecans and sugar in the pie, even the cranberries in the sauce. The farmer who raised the centerpiece turkey may have protected the land that bird foraged with crop insurance, too.

In total, more than 100 crops are covered by the Federal crop insurance program.

More than one million crop insurance policies protect 90 percent of farmland, providing a dependable risk management tool for farmers of all sizes and many of the foods found at your table, no matter your Thanksgiving tradition.

Producing these crops carries with them a huge amount of risk. Especially in years like these, where weather made planting difficult and harvest impossible for some farmers. Some farmers may not survive what has been an exceptionally tough year. But many others will be able to plant again next spring, thanks to the safety net provided by crop insurance.

Farmers are grateful the Federal crop insurance program gives them an opportunity to invest in their own protection. Farmers and ranchers are required to help fund the crop insurance program, spending $3.5 – 4 billion annually on premiums alone and shouldering billions more in deductible losses.

But crop insurance gives farmers a fighting chance against unpredictable dangers that could jeopardize an entire farm’s future in a moment.

And since it’s run in partnership with the private-sector, farmers do not fear having aid held up by a slow political process. They receive aid in weeks – not years – for their verified losses.

So, as we enter into this season of gratitude, take a moment to celebrate the hard work and dedication that goes into producing America’s food.