It May be Warm, but Now Is The Time To Think About Crop Insurance
In December 1990, California experienced its worst freeze since 1937, enduring two weeks of unusually cold temperatures, including four straight days below freezing in many parts of the state. It destroyed the following year’s citrus harvest, resulting in damages in excess of 1.5 billion dollars (not adjusting for inflation). A less severe freeze in 2007—in Merced Country, temperatures reached 21 degrees two days in a row—caused half a billion dollars in damage to the state’s crops.
This year, a third disaster was narrowly averted during a six day freeze, thanks to preventative measures taken by farmers. The ingenuity of crop growers is not to be underestimated, as shown by their ability to overcome the freeze. But there’s always another freeze around the corner. It isn’t a matter of if, but when the next catastrophe will strike.
Federal crop insurance does provide aid to farmers, but its budget has been cut by 12 billion dollars over the past five years , and proposed amendments to the Farm Bill—which recently failed to pass and is back to square one—would cut benefits further. As it is, most crops are only partially covered, and some are not eligible for federal protection at all.
Obtaining crop insurance through your insurer is one way to cover the ever-expanding gap between losses and what the federal government will cover in the event of the next inevitable freeze.