From the Field: Crop Insurance Agents Help Tennessee Farmers Thrive

Farming is a challenging profession, not only because there is a lot of risk involved but also because there are big decisions to be made – like what to plant next year and how to protect it. These decisions can be overwhelming, but crop insurance agents can help farmers figure out what options work best for their farm.

“I like the education process of being a crop insurance agent,” said Greg Williams, who works in Mason, Tennessee. “Farmers are so overwhelmed with what seed am I going to plant? What chemical? [I like the] education process and really helping them understand the protection side of it.”

Recently, we shared the stories of Tennessee farmers who rely on crop insurance, but there’s another important group of people who help make crop insurance successful: private-sector agents.

“I think the thing I love the most [about being a crop insurance agent] is just working with farmers,” said Linda Freeman, a crop insurance agent in Brownsville, Tennessee. “I’ve been in agricultural business since I was 16 years old, so that’s all I know. And farmers are just a unique group of people.”

Before planting a crop, farmers work with private-sector crop insurance agents like Linda to purchase a customized risk management plan that fits their unique needs. Agents are trained and licensed professionals who know the ins and outs of available crop insurance options, products, and policies. This individualized approach is one of the essential strengths of crop insurance and why so many farmers utilize this program year after year.

There is also a personal side to being a crop insurance agent. Lucas Wilds, a crop insurance agent in Troy, Tennessee, explained that the relationship between an agent and a farmer is more than just a business transaction: “[Crop insurance agents] are their friends. A lot of times they’re the number one reliable source.”

And when you’re friends with your customers, looking out for their wellbeing is of the upmost importance. “We have a big responsibility to take care of their livelihood, take care of their income. And I don’t take that lightly,” said Claude Callicott, a farmer and agent in Only, Tennessee.

Protecting crop insurance means protecting farmers. And protecting farmers means protecting the food, fiber, and fuel that America depends on. “Crop insurance is probably the most important program that we have in the whole American system,” said Danny Flynn, Director of National Accounts for Advanced AgProtection, one of the 12 Approved Insurance Providers that sell and service crop insurance policies. “And the reason that I make such a strong statement about that is because it’s how we feed America. Without the American farmer, we would be struggling to have control of our food supply.”

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