It’s been a wild couple of years weather-wise. While the sea lion swimming out of her enclosure during a flood event in Central Park Zoo has entertainment value, weather has become less predictable.
As a farmer, you know how important good weather is, and you also know that climate change is making it harder. In 2022, weather disasters caused over $21 billion in crop losses. This estimate doesn’t include infrastructure damage or livestock losses. Are you protected?
Mitigating the Impact of Weather Events
So, how can you reduce your risk? Climate-smart farming can help protect your crops, infrastructure, and livestock. There are some things farmers, especially small farmers, can and should do. They include:
- Planting cover crops to improve soil quality
- Changing crop varieties and/or animal breeds as conditions change
- Reduce dependence on fertilizers and pesticides
- Incorporating more trees and native perennials. This includes tornado-hardy trees that are less likely to be blown over in the frequent storms.
- Reducing debris and clutter that can be blown into your home…or your livestock…during a storm.
Another option is agrovoltaics. Agrovoltaics combine agriculture and solar energy on the same land, giving farmers another income stream. When elevated photovoltaic panels are placed in livestock pasture the livestock use them for shade, reducing heat stress and improving productivity. Sheep and cattle have been used in these projects and there are now experiments in process with horses. The panels can also reduce heat stress on crops.
The true key is diversification, not becoming reliant on one crop, on one animal, or on one income stream. As the world changes, too, farmers need to work together to breed crops and animals better suited to new conditions, just as they have always done. However, none of this can protect you from any possible disaster.
Why Crop Insurance Matters
Reducing crop damage and diversification are important not just to farmers but to everyone who needs to eat. However, if your crops are destroyed by, for example, an unexpected hailstorm, you need to make sure your business can survive.
Crop insurance provides you with some financial protection from freak events and risks associated with what you produce. You should get insurance from a broker or supplier who knows the exposures specific to Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota. South Dakota, for example, has experienced devastating tornados, massive flooding, blizzards, ice storms, and wildfires. All of these can impact your crops or affect the coming growing season. They can also do damage to your infrastructure and your home, so it’s equally important to insure your farm properly.
Make sure that your insurance covers you for all of your agricultural activities and that your buildings are covered. An expert broker can help you find the right coverage for your very specific needs. Don’t forget flood insurance, which often has to be purchased separately. Your insurance broker can also help with more specific mitigation techniques which help protect your business and also keep your premiums down.
Crop insurance also provides some coverage if there is an unexpected drop in price caused by changing fashions or a glut on the market. This can help make sure you get through a bad year and have enough money to plan for a better one.
Harvest season is coming up. Are you protected if unexpected weather or climate change impacts your farm or ranch? If not, now is the perfect time to contact Northeast Nebraska Insurance. We know what the specific risks are for farmers and ranchers in Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota, and can help farms of all sizes find the right coverage to protect their investment and livelihood.