A safe bet last August would have been that anybody that didn't have crop insurance in 2012 would be first in line to sign up for it for 2013. Crop insurance agents may have data that proves otherwise, but an informal survey of several people who didn't have insurance in 2013 indicates they were not first in line, and likely won't ever be in line. They may let March 15 roll by without signing up. It's the last day to sign up for federal crop insurance for corn and soybeans for 2013.
To answer why, it helps to take a look at some of the people who didn't carry insurance. Most of the ones we've talked to are older, mid-40's to early '70s. Some figure they saved enough in premiums during their careers to offset what they would have received last year, and then some. While some admit they may tighten the belt some, they're willing to take the risk that a worst in 75 year drought, nearly a perfect storm when coupled with heat and planting dates for corn, won't repeat itself in 2013.
Others are on land that seldom produces a crop failure. One farmer, perhaps the youngest of the lot, farms on clay soils that actually do better in dry years than wet years. There are limits, of course, as many found out last year, as to how far a wet soil can help. But he was blessed to be in a pocket of rain that dumped water on his crop just in time. He harvested good corn yields and record soybean yields. Just a few miles away, however, corn yields were in the 20- bushel per acre range or less.
This could turn out to be like politics. You can survey people ahead of time, and they may say they're going to vote one way or the other. Then when they actually get in the voting booth and the chips are down, they do something different. It will be interesting to see if phones of crop agents ring about March 14, especially if there is more talk about dry, hot weather for this summer.