June 1 marked the beginning of hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean and its already off to a roaring start. One month in and three named storms have already affected the United States – two of those storms formed before the season even officially began.
Most recently, Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall in Louisiana, and it will very likely be far from the last storm this year. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting a 60 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season.
For those farming in the Gulf and Atlantic states, a hurricane could destroy everything they’ve worked to grow or care for in just one catastrophic event.
But after the floodwaters recede and the winds die down, America’s crop insurance industry will be there to help set them on the road to recovery.
Just as we were there when Irene destroyed Cash Ruane’s corn crop in 2011.
By the time Hurricane Irene reached the picturesque mountains of Vermont, she was only a Tropical Storm but her capacity for destruction was unmatched. Historic flooding left water on Ruane’s fields for more than four days and at one point threatened his cow herd.
Thankfully, Ruane had purchased crop insurance, as he always does, and immediately called his crop insurance agent.
“I had my indemnity payment within 10 days to two weeks,” he said. “I was impressed, because I was expecting two to three months,” he said.
One crop insurance agent based in Maine recalled the following Spring that for many farmers in New England, “crop insurance was the only thing that saved… them from losing their farms to bankruptcy and instead allowed them to return to their fields.”
We were still there the following year when Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast.
Because the unique partnership created by the Federal crop insurance program is able to leverage private sector efficiencies, adjusters were on the ground in just days to assess damages and indemnity checks arrived in weeks, not months.
And crop insurance helped Justin Price when Florence left his soybean crop a total loss in 2018.
“I had been smart in my decision making, and carried crop insurance, which you know that’s not a salvation but it’s a help.”
We don’t know what this year’s hurricane season will bring, but we know that crop insurance will never leave our farmers or ranchers behind. Not when a pandemic strikes and certainly not when a hurricane hits.
The crop insurance industry is proud to provide an affordable, accessible and personalized safety net to America’s farmers and ranchers.