The entrepreneurial activity by farmers is a bit stressed at present. Many are still trying to figure out the provisions of a complex government subsidy program that requires a long-term commitment by farmers. Nearer term, weather remains a serious concern.
Many farms and rural communities, especially those on the plains, were hammered by drought last year. Those same folks are now attempting to develop survival strategies as meteorological indicators begin to suggest 2003 could be even worse.
Last year's wildfires in Colorado were but one symptom of a persistent drought pressuring farmers and ranchers in the high plains and much of the West. It's estimated that the arid conditions cost Kansas farmers more than one-billion dollars in crop losses last year.
This week, the USDA approved a Premium Discount Plan for one of the nation's, leading insurers that could generate significant savings for Kansas producers -- as well as growers from other Midwestern states.
"Crop1 Insurance" is offering the discounted premiums which, according to Kansas State University, could represent a savings of nearly 8-percent for Kansas farmers.
The Des Moines, Iowa – based insurer will offer its products primarily through its website.
The premium discount program has been approved for seven of the 12 states that Crop1 writes insurance for. In addition to Kansas they are: Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and North Dakota. The discounts apply to corn, soybeans, wheat, sugar beets and grain sorghum.
And a look at the current U.S. Drought Monitor reveals why sales of crop insurance may be brisk this year. The current map shows no let-up in the arid conditions in much of the nation.