For many Farm Credit Mid-America customers, 2019 was a challenging year. Low prices, trade uncertainties, regulatory and policy changes stressed many growers and producers. Atypical weather was another significant stressor, but for farmers hard hit by spring and fall flooding, Farm Credit Mid-America’s crop insurance products provided an important life preserver.
“Farming is a tough business,” said Kristen Ward, Crop Insurance Resources Advisor. “With the heavy rains and then the drought-like conditions we saw last year, especially in the Midwest, it was especially stressful for many of our customers.
“Crop insurance protections offered through Farm Credit Mid-America gave many of our customers some peace of mind, so we are very pleased to be able to partner with them through products and services that build resilience and strengthen operations.”
In northern Ohio and northern Indiana, the two Farm Credit Mid-America states most affected by extreme weather in 2019, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that farmers were not able to plant crops on more than two million acres. Nationwide, the USDA reported more than 19 million Prevented Planting acres.
Crop insurance is but one of many products and services Farm Credit Mid-America provides to its customers, who also are owners of our agriculture finance cooperative. In 2019, the Association paid more than $53 million in claims, with many of those funds distributed in July through September, after so many of customers experienced losses in May and June.
A partner to producers and growers, Farm Credit Mid-America retail team members will continue to work alongside customers in 2020 to help grow, build and strengthen their operations.
“Our heritage and our knowledge both run deep,” said Jason Alexander, Senior Vice President Insurance Services. “Farm Credit has been providing dependable credit to rural communities and farmers for more than 100 years, and we also know farming. Many of our employees come from a farm or still farm today.
“So we understand their challenges and we work with them to identify and utilize opportunities,” such as changes in the new Farm Bill.
Additionally, Farm Credit Mid-America offers tools and insights that directly apply to farm operations, for example, it:
- Leverages proprietary tools and leading economic advisers to helps farmers determine whether to try to plant during a challenging season.
- Hosts producer meetings with industry experts to share knowledge and guidance and to answer questions about new and existing insurance products and other issues.
- Regularly communicates with farmers to provide helpful and timely information, tools, resources and support for their operations.
“Helping farmers through good and challenging times is important to us and we are committed to getting them helpful and valuable information,” said Alexander. “These aren’t just customers – they’re our friends and our neighbors – family. If we can help them to be successful, we are going to do that.”
As 2020s planting season approaches, Farm Credit Mid-America agents are experts on new insurance products and details, such as Supplemental Coverage Options now available to farmers, and other opportunities created by the Farm Bill.
“This enables our agents to help customers make data-driven decision about when, where and what to plant this upcoming year,” said Ward. “It’s important for us to know what their options are so that we can help them determine their best value.
“We want to get them the best information so they can make the most informed decision.”