By David A. Widmar
Crop insurance has become an essential risk management tool for U.S. farmers. With the crop insurance decision deadline looming, farmers must quickly make any changes to their policy and coverage levels for 2015. Given the current tighter budget realities and fresh memories of the 2012 drought when crop insurance proved very valuable, the stakes are high. A delicate balance between affordability and ample coverage is needed.
Rather than look at lots of different budget and premium data, we decided to examine the crop insurance decisions that producers in different parts of the country made in 2014. I know that when I saw the data for my own county I was a bit surprised as to the predominant coverage level being purchased.
Well it’s the end of the year and that means it’s time to take a look back at the year that was. 2014 was an eventful year for agriculture. Here are 20 of the top highlights as we saw them.
1. Farmers Start the Year Flush. The year began as many recent years, with farmers riding on a wave of very high profits. The financial condition of the U.S. farm sector was as strong as it has been in decades. A common bellwether of the farm sector profitability, farmland values, stood at all-time highs in almost every region of the country. Final estimates of 2013 reported producers were coming off the 3rd year in a row where net farm income topped $98 billion and a general trend of strong income that started in 2005.