Crop and farm insurance: What you need to know before the 2019 planting season

January 15, 2019
corn field

Mark your calendar for March 15, as that’s the deadline to lock in on your crop insurance policy for the growing season. As you make your decisions about what to plant (more growers are contemplating adding winter wheat to their rotation), here are some things to consider.

Make your annual visit

Before planting, now is a great time to visit with your insurance agent to make sure you have the right coverage, not only for your crops but for your operation as a whole. Farms are always in a state of evolution, which means some coverage gaps may have cropped up since you created a policy five years ago. You want to be sure you have the right coverage in place.

Be prepared: Know your farm bill changes

The good news with the passage of the 2018 farm bill? The subsidies from the prior bill are very much intact. Here are some of the changes you can expect:

  • Starting in 2021, producers can make annual switches between Agriculture Risk Coverage–County and the Price Loss Coverage, rather than having to lock it in for the entire farm bill cycle. That does mean you will have to choose between ARC-County and PLC in the 2019 and 2020 growing seasons. Going forward, you have flexibility to choose the coverage that makes the most sense for your operation.
  • There are also provisions for commodity price improvements with an increase in the PLC reference price.
  • Growers can also update yields under specific circumstances.

More details on the impacts of the new farm bill on crop insurance should be released soon by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Does it make sense to supplement?

Hail is not included in the federally subsidized multiple peril crop insurance policy. Though it may be tempting to opt out of this coverage, consider this: In 2017, Minnesota appeared on the top five list of states in number of properties that experienced damaging hail events, according to data cited by the Insurance Information Institute. The $252 million worth of average annual losses sustained in Minnesota between the years 2000-2013 earned the Gopher State a second place on the top 10 list in claim losses.  

Does the recent spate of damaging hail mean that crop-hail insurance is right for your operation? It’s worth discussing. The upside is if you purchase your crop insurance and whole farm insurance from a single broker, you could be eligible for a discount on insurance costs. With bundling, the addition of crop-hail could make financial sense for your operation.

Schedule your appointment

Protect your crops and your farm, and schedule a one-on-one consultation with a Minnwest Trusted Choice Independent Insurance Agent. We can help you assess your current coverage for your crops, land, buildings and machinery so you can enter the 2019 planting season knowing you’re getting the most from your coverage options.

Minnwest Insurance Agency, Inc is an affiliate of Minnwest Bank. Products offered through Minnwest Insurance Agency, Inc are: Not a deposit | Not FDIC insured | Not insured by any federal government agency | Not guaranteed by the bank or an affiliate of the bank | May go down in value (if applicable)