LYONS, NEBRASKA – The backbone of rural communities in the Midwest, family farm operations rely on sound risk management options and practices to keep going.
A tool for many farmers to manage risk is federal crop insurance. However, according to a white paper released today by the Center for Rural Affairs, it is not an option used by all farms and ranches.
Authored by Policy Manager Anna Johnson, the white paper “Crop Insurance: Taking a Look at Access in Nebraska and Iowa” outlines the Center’s outreach efforts with underserved producers, which first began in 2017 and expanded in 2019.
Traditional crop insurance is available mostly for corn, wheat, and soybeans, leaving out many organic, small grain, fruit, and vegetable crops and livestock. In outreach efforts, Center staff stressed the value of diversification.
“Diversification can be another important strategy for mitigating risk,” Johnson said. “But, lack of access to reliable crop insurance is one reason many farmers avoid incorporating additional crops into their operation.”
As outlined in the paper, the federal crop insurance product Whole-Farm Revenue Protection (WFRP) may make diversifying easier. Available nationally, WFRP can be purchased along with other standard crop insurance for corn and soybeans, to add protection for third or fourth crops or livestock.
Though a variety of options are available to manage risk, the Center’s outreach efforts indicated there was a general lack of understanding among many diversified farmers about how crop insurance works and its value.
“While they are concerned about risk, many farmers and ranchers of diverse crops and livestock don’t see crop insurance as a viable risk management option,” Johnson said.
Click here to read the full white paper.