Mattson Farms finished harvest on August 31, 2021. Although it is always a great feeling to have completed this operation, signaling the completion of a crop year, this year came with many emotions. We experienced a historical drought this year, which is something no farmer wants to experience.
When all the efforts and expenses that go into putting in a crop ends up with little to no crop to harvest, one tends to feel defeated and beat down. Prices on most commodities are up, which is a good thing, but keep in mind the reason the prices are rising is because the farmer has little to sell. Unfortunately, whenever commodity prices rise, so do the input costs such as fertilizer and chemicals, causing us to be concerned about next year’s bottom line before this year has even ended.
Non-farmers believe that surely crop insurance makes up the difference in the loss of crops to harvest. That is never the case. Before the producer knows what the crop might yield, the decision must be made on what level of insurance coverage to purchase. Each crop, possibly each field, has a history of what it has averaged in the last 10 years. That history can be insured at different levels, from 65% of that number up to 85% of that number. Obviously, the higher the level of coverage, the higher the premium. Crop insurance is expensive. If the Federal Government did not subsidize the premium we could not afford to purchase the insurance at any level. The choice of which level to choose is dependent upon the cost and the amount of risk the producer is willing to take.
Now that the crops have been harvested, the office will be busy confirming all of the bushels that have been harvested in order to accurately report those numbers to the crop insurance agent. An adjustor will come to the farm, view our records, confirm the amount of grain that has been either sold or stored in the grain bins at harvest time. Any grain that is stored must be measured and accurately reflect what we have harvested. Fortunately, we have a scale over which every bushel of grain has been weighed and recorded. Accuracy on our part is very important and time consuming.
Although crop insurance cannot totally make up for the crop lost, it will help keep us in business for another year.