Every county in the state of Iowa is experiencing severe or extreme drought conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. This time last near, not a single county in the state was experiencing drought. In fact, it would be fair to say that farmers saw quite the opposite conditions last year, especially here in western Iowa.
We had water, and lots of it. In fact, counties bordering the Missouri River had thousands of acres of farmland – homes and communities – that were under water for four months. The Missouri River, which is typically less than 1,000 feet wide, was roughly six miles wide from bank to bank.
From a farmer’s perspective, the only thing last year and this year have in common is that crop losses will be steep. But this is the nature of agriculture, where we are blessed with some of the most productive land on earth in the good years, and then the threat of losing an entire crop, back to back, in the bad years. Thank goodness most farmers purchase crop insurance to help us get back on our feet after those bad years strike.
Last year, Iowa farmers shelled out more than $444 million from their own pockets to purchase crop insurance. Crop insurance has become the best risk management tool available for most farmers because it is a public-private partnership…