Crop Insurance in Action: Stanley Wilson, Shafter, California
Almost 100 years ago Stanley Wilson’s ancestors settled in Shafter, California to start their family farm. Since then, the farm has been passed down to Wilson who continues to farm to this very day with the help of his two sons, a son-in-law and several grandchildren. Their operation produces cotton, potatoes, carrots, beans, alfalfa, almonds and raisin grapes.
Knowing the ins and outs of farming, like the back of his hand, Wilson said he chooses to purchase crop insurance so he can properly protect his crops and operation from unexpected perils.
“Crop insurance gives us a bottom line protection, in the case of various farm disasters,” Wilson said. “Anyone who has been in farming knows production is not consistent. Many times we have problems caused by climate, insects or diseases, and we need protection against those things to (prevent) a complete wipeout. Just something to give us a bottom line so we can go another year.”
Due to the protection crop insurance can provide, Wilson can sleep easier knowing if a disaster hits, he’ll be able to farm the following year. With the expense that farming can cost producers, Wilson said he is grateful crop insurance can help in times of need.
“Farming is a very expensive operation compared to what it was when I first started farming,” Wilson explained. “We’re looking at costs 10 times what they were 50 years ago… And so the protection we get from crop insurance is very important.”
Another point Wilson made was that crop insurance can be timelier than governmental alternatives and this aspect is what keeps farming operations, including his own, in business after a natural disaster or economic hardship.
“You don’t wait for Congress to enact legislation when you have an emergency because it takes them years (to act),” Wilson stated. “A good example of that is they have done nothing with passing any legislation to help the California drought and we’re in our fourth year of that. Maybe four years down the road, after we get flooded, they’ll think about actually enacting something. So you have to have something in place if you’re trying to protect from disasters.”
Wilson concluded that in his case there are “not any more crop subsidy payments” through the Federal government so crop insurance is the only way the government is really helping his farm. And as long as Wilson can keep his operation protected and in business, he said he is happy.
“Even though I am of retirement age, farmers never seem to be able to quit farming because they love doing it,” Wilson expressed. “And I want to see my kids continue doing what I have enjoyed all these years.”