The importance of crop insurance and other risk management tools to our nation’s farmers is the main message of the first segment in a new Agri-Pulse Farm Bill video series.
“We all rely on farmers and ranchers, but farming is riskier than other businesses out there,” the video begins. “Crop insurance helps farmers manage their risk.”
The video notes that with crop insurance, farmers put skin in the game, paying premiums and shouldering deductibles. This protects taxpayers from expensive ad hoc disaster bills.
The video features a number of interviews with farmers and ranchers, including Craig Hill, Iowa Farm Bureau president, who discussed the unique challenges farmers face.
“We have to negotiate with Mother Nature each and every year to grow a crop and that risk is fairly significant for most growers and so the crop insurance program is essential,” Hill said.
But it’s not just the weather that the modern farmer has to worry about. It’s the price of the crops they grow, which can respond quickly to a weather disaster or change of demand in the U.S. or around the world.
Kevin Paap, president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau, says that this uncertainty makes crop insurance “his bankers’ best friend.”
“Not only is it the drought and the things that you think about typically with crop insurance as far as yield loss, but also it’s the revenue side,” Paap said. “Having that ability to make sure that you can manage your risk, you can use your crop as collateral, by far is the #1 thing.”
And crop insurance isn’t just critical for traditional row crops. When it comes to specialty crops, crop insurance is a vital tool.
Kay Rentzel, executive director, National Peach Council, noted that when a farmer puts a tree or a bush in the ground it takes at least three years before they actually produce a harvest. So one catastrophic freeze potentially could wipe out an industry.
“We desperately want to be able to feed America, we want to be able to feed the world and we want to provide them with healthy, good-for-you food products and crop insurance is one of the roles and one of the tools they have to do that,” Rentzel said.
Blake Hurst, Missouri Farm Bureau president, stressed the importance of crop insurance to beginning farmers.
“For my sons-in-law who are just beginning farming, it is very important to them that they have some stability, some ability to plan, some ability to secure financing,” said Hurst. “If they don’t have a guarantee that that program is going to be there over the next several years as they make long-term plans, it becomes difficult for them to grow, for them to expand, for them to be successful in their farming careers.”
The segment concludes by stressing the importance of passing a strong Farm Bill in the near future.
“Uncertainty is never good,” said Russell Boening, Texas Farm Bureau president. “If you don’t know what your risk management tools are going to be or how they are going to work – yes it can be nerve wracking; it can cause sleepless nights.”