Do you know what’s in your crop insurance policy?

How do you determine what type of crop insurance best fits your operation? This might be the single most important farming decision you make in the coming years.

As we approach a new Farm Bill, many discussions are focused on where the crop insurance program is headed. Even the slightest changes can affect the inner workings of your coverage. This is even more of a reason to stay educated about your crop insurance.

The crop insurance portion of the 2018 Farm Bill benefits all Americans. Crop insurance is an important part of maintaining the most affordable and safest food supply, not only in U.S., but also in the world.

MFA Incorporated and its affiliates touch as many or more farmers in our territory than any organization in the state. This aligns us to help more of those farmers than anyone. We are providing educational opportunities for producers while helping provide current and long-term risk management strategies. Knowing more about the different types, levels and options of crop insurance helps our farmers make solid decisions on their marketing as well as risk management.

Many of the farmers we speak to only know that they have some type of crop insurance. The details often elude them. At MFA, we intend to put the knowledge back in the farmer’s hands. Understanding how a crop and its fields are broken down, either by section or by county, can make all the difference between financial disaster or profitability in a single year.

Whether it is to sample soil, advise on seed selection or make fertilizer recommendations, MFA personnel visit farms on a regular basis. We know the farmer’s operation very well. We can help find what determines profitability, breaking even or farming at a loss.

One of the most important aspects of crop insurance is revenue protection. This may be the most misunderstood coverage. Without it, drastic changes in commodity prices could devastate a farmer’s profit margins during the growing season. Locking in a profit, even before planting, is vital. This can be done with proper crop insurance strategy. Sometimes one of the most difficult things is to convince a farmer to sell crops before they are harvested, but capturing the highs in the markets during the growing season can be the difference between being profitable and operating at a loss.

Apples to apples, crop insurance is the same coverage and cost no matter what company or agent you are using. The biggest difference is the type of service they provide. Do you have to stop what you are doing to drive to a crop insurance office, or does that agent come to you? Do you get a personal review each year of your coverage and farming operation? Do the company adjusters make it easy to meet with you? These are all areas that you should consider. Expect the service that you are paying for.

If you haven’t been provided the opportunity to have a thorough examination of your operation and how crop insurance fits your needs, 2018 is an important time to do this. MFA has 38 licensed crop insurance agents. A licensed agent is available in all of our trade territories.

Important crop insurance dates

March 15 (or Feb. 28 in some of the southern areas) Spring crops final sign-up date. This is also the date to be able to make changes to your coverage and transfer your policy.

April 29
Production report deadline for 2017 spring planted production. We advise this be done prior to the sales closing date to ensure an accurate quote for your 2018 crop insurance.

July 15
Acreage reporting date. This is to report where and how many acres of spring crops were planted. We understand that making decisions on what to plant and where to plant it can be difficult. Make sure you have those conversations with your crop insurance agent. You don’t want to find out after the fact that making changes to your planting leaves you uninsured or under insured on those fields.

There are also numerous dates that differ from county to county for earliest, final and late planting dates. Be sure to check with your agent on these guidelines.

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