Revisit Your Risk
Crop insurance is all about mitigating risk – but these days, the policies themselves can make things sweaty inside your comfort zone. Over the last few years, crop insurance choices and options have become more complex, and in 2022, costs continued to increase. As of right now, 2023 looks like it will present similar challenges.
A lot can change before the end of February, and one could be tempted to wait it out. However, we encourage farmers to start thinking about insurance coverage for the 2023 crop year now to have a better position going into the coming season.
WHERE TO START?
The first thing to do is define your risk. This will look different for everyone, and it likely has changed since the last time you visited these numbers. So, really sit down and list out the numbers.
“Establishing your breakevens is going to get you to a solid starting point,” said one state insurance product officer for Compeer Financial. “Your cost of production is going to include everything – feed, fertilizer, land, operating costs. And those things have all likely changed since the last time you evaluated your operation. Now is as good a time as any to reestablish those figures after so much has changed in the markets.”
Tools like Compeer’s Margin Manager can provide a snapshot of all the pieces that go into your cost of production.
“One thing we know is input costs are up,” said Tom Timko, state insurance product officer for Compeer. But so are commodity prices. “When corn was $4 an acre, we had to get creative with coverage. The beauty of $6 corn is that multi-peril policy gets you the base coverage you need, and then we can explore hail and wind policies to cover spot losses.”
Commodity prices may bring you into a profitable scenario, but what happens if that price drops? What happens if a wind storm or an adverse weather event hits?
ADJUST WHEN NEEDED
More than ever, you need to know your numbers to make sure you’re protected with crop insurance. You may need to adjust your policy to add more coverage. You might consider adding one of the county bands of coverage. If you haven’t been updating your budget, it’s time to check back again.
“Cost of production should lead your conversations,” Timko said. “Once we know your cost of production, we can use a multi-peril policy to figure out what type of policy you need. The goal is to match a policy up to get that apples-to-apples coverage so you’re not underinsured.”
With many ways to get coverage, selecting the right combination for the 2023 crop year can feel overwhelming. These three steps can make the process less daunting, especially if you act now:
- Get working on your breakeven numbers. It might be frustrating to think about rising input costs, but those are largely out of your control. Keep track of what they are and use a tool such as Compeer’s Grain Marketing Manager to assist you in nailing down your breakevens.
- Voice your concerns to your Compeer insurance officer. If wind and/or hail is on your mind, make sure your insurance officer knows it.
- Ask your Compeer insurance officer about your correlation to the county. Compeer insurance officers can look at producer yields compared to county yields to help you see where you stand comparatively.
For additional crop insurance insights, check out our crop insurance podcast and other resources. To speak to an insurance officer, call (844) 426-6733. This article was originally printed in the Winter 2022 edition of Compeer Financials' Cultivate magazine.