By Bing Von Bergen
There is a lot of buzz in Washington again this year about the prospects of a farm bill. For those of us in agriculture, a five-year farm bill is one of the few things Congress can do to take some of the guesswork out of farming.
That’s because farming is an inherently risky venture, and Mother Nature never seems to run out of tricks to play on America’s farmers. Floods one year, droughts the next, followed by a year or two of great weather peppered with a tornado, a late-spring freeze, and then a crash in commodity prices just as your crop comes into harvest.
How in the world can one businessman plan for all of those possibilities? The simple answer is crop insurance.
Crop insurance is a nationwide program that enables farmers to purchase insurance to partially protect themselves from both weather-related and market-related disasters. I’ve been a wheat farmer for 34 years, and when I started farming, crop insurance was just a shell of what it is now. Back then, it was not widely available, was not purchased by many farmers, and was completely administered by the federal government.
Today’s crop insurance policy is a completely different animal. It’s partially underwritten by the federal government but sold and delivered by private sector insurance companies, ensuring efficient handling of claims and speedy…
Bing Von Bergen of Moccasin is president and acting CEO of the National Association of Wheat Growers