| Published: May 15, 2020

Managing the Uncontrollable with Crop Insurance

Andy McCarty, crop insurance specialist with Horizon Farm Credit and Crop Growers LLP shares the role of crop insurance in today’s challenging environment and how crop reporting will work in a recent podcast.

COVID-19 has had many significant impacts on agriculture. In these volatile times, should farmers be looking at crop insurance any differently than normal?
In my opinion, this year is no different when considering crop insurance for your business. I believe we should always consistently be proactive when mitigating our risk around the farm. We should always look over all the options to make sure that we're protected when we need it the most. With the drop in commodity prices this spring, revenue coverage should probably be top on producers’ minds, and a conversation that they should have with their crop insurance agent. Crop insurance offers peace of mind and ensures a future for your farm operation.

I'm sure the pandemic has changed the format that you can serve your crop insurance customers. What will be different this spring for farmers in terms of reporting?
That’s exactly right. I will be working with farmers using technology more than ever before. Crop insurance agents are committed to working hard to serve farmers. Our team has been in communication with many local FSA offices, and if farmers continue to report to FSA first, that's totally fine; that's their option. FSA will likely have limited servicing availability at some of the offices. 

As an agent, I am willing to meet ahead with farmers, any time, by phone, email or any type of electronic technology including web meetings or FaceTime. I can review planted acres to make sure the farmer’s FSA reporting goes a little smoother this year. I can then take that report, provide it to FSA, and reduce the farmer’s time spent at the FSA office. Unfortunately, I can't meet in-person on the farm, so that's why we're utilizing technology to help. 
The saying is, "The early bird gets the worm." If they haven’t already, farmers should reach out to their crop insurance agent and set some time aside to develop a plan on reporting acres.

For dairy farmers, how could Dairy-RP help them manage volatility on their operation?
Dairy-RP is a powerful tool, and it's already helping many producers manage through this uncertain time. If you're a dairy producer who is unhappy with the current prices, consider Dairy-RP. Talk to your crop insurance agent or ag business consultant for their perspective. If you are a dairy producer who did not sign up for DMC, Dairy-RP is an option for helping to manage your risk. Dairy-RP is available almost every day the market is open. With Dairy-RP, you can customize it to your herd size, your components, your production and Class III or Class IV. So it's kind of like a Liberty Mutual. With Dairy-RP, you only pay for what you need, and not what you don't.

Are there any other thoughts you'd like to share?
Crop insurance is not just for corn, soybeans, and milk. There are a number of different crops in Pennsylvania, and we have insurance products to cover all of them. Having a knowledgeable crop insurance agent definitely helps farmers navigate through all of the options. 

We have insurance products available for orchards, vineyards, a variety of vegetable crops, to more specific products, like Crop Hail, Rainfall, Whole Farm, and our newest insurance product this year is in hemp. If you grow it, chances are we have the product to meet your needs.

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