National Crop Insurance Services has traveled across the country to talk to farmers and agriculture lenders on the ground to learn what crop insurance means to their farms, families, and communities. The Swanson family of Wapello County, Iowa, would be left vulnerable without the safety net that crop insurance provides.
“Crop insurance protects that bottom line… It’s by far the best government program we have, hands down,” said Don Swanson, who farms with his brother Bill on a farm that’s been in the family for more than 170 years.
Another multi-generation Iowa farmer, Dustin Johnson, enjoys being able to share the rewards of his labor with his children and expose them to the first-hand educational experiences that a working farm provides.
“In a world where technology has kind of taken over, it’s still nice to be able to bring the kids out, ride around in the tractor, get to see first-hand what Dad does every day,” he said.
When Johnson started farming, the amount of capital required for essential items was daunting. Especially when his income relied not only on his hard work, but the hazards of unpredictable weather, and market fluctuations.
“The risks go way beyond anything that I can control,” Johnson explained. “Which is a really good thing to have crop insurance for.”
For many Iowa towns, agriculture is not only an integral part of the community but also critical to their economic success.
Erica Wuthrich from Bloomfield, Iowa, explains, “The majority of the families around here are farmers… if we didn’t have the farming operations around here, it wouldn’t be good – it would be awful.”
As young farmers, Erica and her husband, Brent, rely on the stability that crop insurance provides in order to keep their farm running. “We don’t make money from it, but it helps us sustain our operation,” Wuthrich said.
Another young Iowa farmer, Colin Johnson, echoes this sentiment, “A component like crop insurance and the assistance that we get, as a young farmer, that helps me know I can continue farming another year. I have been farming for nine years on my own, and… I probably wouldn’t have lasted two years without my crop insurance support.”
Jared Lyle, Senior Vice President and Senior Loan Officer for Iowa State Bank and Trust in Fairfield, stresses to his agriculture customers the importance of protecting their farms by purchasing crop insurance.
“It’s more a matter of a safety net to keep them from not losing quite as much money and keeping them in business,” Lyle said.
Weakening the public-private partnership of federal crop insurance would be detrimental to the Iowa families that Iowa State Bank and Trust serves.
“There will be less farmers in business for sure, if they lose that safety net,” Lyle said. “Ag is very important. I would hate to see anybody underestimate that.”
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