As Farm Bill Discussions Get Underway, NCIS Unveils Updated Website

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 5, 2017 – National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) is pleased to announce it has updated and redesigned the award-winning Crop Insurance in America website. The revamped website aims to effectively share crop insurance’s success story by offering visitors streamlined access to the latest news and information on crop insurance, as well as encouraging interaction on social media channels.

The site has a crisp, clean design, improved social media sharing tools, and increased security settings.

Features include an updated comprehensive question-and-answer resource, Just the Facts, that lays out the facts about crop insurance and dispels some of the most common arguments against crop insurance put forth by its critics.

The site also features a robust news section that houses recent press releases, the association’s What’s Cropping Up newsletter, relevant headlines, quotes, and other resources, including social media content for easy sharing.

Other items available on the site include updated fact sheets on the importance of crop insurance to individual states; farmer testimonials; a detailed history of the program; a look at the essential strengths of the program, and more.

“The crop insurance program is the cornerstone of the farm safety net and has a great story to tell,” said Tom Zacharias, president of NCIS. “We hope this updated website will provide visitors with a better understanding as to why crop insurance is so valuable, not just to farmers, but to taxpayers as well, and will encourage them to share its success story with others.”

NCIS launched this website in 2008 to better explain the benefits of crop insurance to farmers, taxpayers, and consumers, and to demonstrate how the program helps drive the nation’s rural economy.  In 2015, NCIS was honored to have the website selected by the United States Library of Congress (LOC) to be part of America’s historic collection of Internet materials.

Click here to explore the updated Crop Insurance in America site.


Crop Insurance Helped Mississippi Farmers See Yet Another Spring

The state of Mississippi and farming are so intertwined that it is hard to imagine one without the other.  Agriculture is not only our state’s number one industry; it employs roughly one-third of our population, contributing $5.8 billion to the state’s economy.  There are approximately 42,000 farms in the state covering 11 million acres, producing rice, cotton, soybeans and other commodities, and there is not a county in our state where farming doesn’t play a major role.

Agriculture in this state, and throughout the U.S., has been one of the bright spots that is helping the U.S. turn the economic corner.  But the productivity of the American farm and the consumer benefits of the American food supply did not just happen in a vacuum.  It all happened because of hard-working farmers, abundant natural resources and public policies that provided risk management tools for farmers when disasters struck.  And hands down, farmers across the country will tell you that their most important risk management tool is crop insurance.

As a crop insurance agent who was on more than a few farms the day after Hurricane Katrina struck, I can tell you first hand that crop insurance was a financial lifeline for many farmers.  Katrina hit so many farmers who had never before gone through a large-scale natural disaster that wiped out their entire crop at harvest time.  For farmers whose crops survived the storm, their fields were so waterlogged that they couldn’t get their crops out.  It was precisely in this kind of situation that crop insurance showed its value to Mississippi producers, and for those who had purchased crop insurance it was a godsend.

Crop insurance is privately written and delivered insurance that is purchased by individual farmers and tailored specifically for to the risks they face on their farms.  Because crop insurance is delivered by the private sector, indemnities are made to farmers who suffer losses quickly and efficiently.

After Katrina, crop insurance companies dispatched crews from other parts of the U.S. to the Gulf coast states to meet with the farmers and perform the appraisals.  And, believe it or not, despite the size of the disaster and the number of claims made, indemnities were paid in a matter of weeks.

For farmers, the speed with which they received their indemnities enabled them to pay off their production loans from the crop they had just lost and bounce-back to plant again the following spring.  Compare that to federally-administered disaster programs, such as SURE, that take as long as two years for a loss payment to finally reach a farmer in need.  Two years is often too late when you have just lost everything.

Mid Atlantic Lender Sold On Crop Insurance

Kenny Bounds feels strongly about crop insurance.

“For ag lenders, crop insurance is portfolio insurance,” says Bounds (56), the Government Affairs Officer for Mid Atlantic Farm Credit, which serves five states. Bounds has been in ag lending for his entire career and lives on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

“I tell our producers that anyone who self-insures is rolling the dice and may well end up losing the gamble. It can take years to regain the net worth lost in one bad year and years of additional debt service to amortize the loss. Crop insurance protects cash flow, as well as net worth and keeps you credit worthy.”

Bounds not only tells his crop insurance story to producers, he also shares his feeling with state and federal legislators.

He makes the case, that unlike other forms of casualty insurance, like auto or home, the risks in agriculture cannot be spread over many small, widely dispersed events. In agriculture droughts, storms, and other risks are spread over huge regions of the country.

“Crop insurance marries the private interest of the farmer, who has to pay his or her share of the premium, with the national interest in preserving the critical mass necessary to sustain the infrastructure that gives us our ample, and affordable, food supply.”

He also points out that our nation’s economy benefits from the huge positive impact agricultural exports have on our balance of trade. “Crop insurance is good for agriculture, and it is also a pretty good deal for the taxpayers,” says Bounds.

“Crop insurance not only holds a risk management umbrella over producers, but also over rural communities. Rural businesses are affected by the financial well-being, and profitability, of agricultural producers. Businesses such as feed and seed dealers, farm equipment dealers, and automobile dealers… they are all protected by the crop insurance umbrella.”