8 Pieces of Advice for Farmers from Local Crop Insurance Agents

8 Pieces of Advice for Farmers from Local Crop Insurance Agents

Whether you’re an experienced, young, beginning, or small farmer, crop insurance is an important part of any farming operation. While crop insurance policies and premiums are regulated at the national level, the service that is provided is not. Our agents are 100% dedicated to their customers. Oftentimes independent agents sell other types of insurance on top of crop insurance but at AgSouth, our agents are focused on crop insurance alone. This allows them to be experts in their field, and to stay up to date on constantly changing policies and how it relates to your operation. Below are AgSouth Crop Insurance agent’s best pieces of advice for farmers.  

“There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

Crop insurance can sometimes feel like a completely different language to a farmer. I receive calls all the time by farmers who say they don’t understand certain aspects of crop insurance. For example - what exactly is a guarantee? Or maybe they need a refresh on what coverage levels or options they have on their policy. Even if you’ve been a longtime crop insurance customer of AgSouth, no question is a dumb question. Policies are always changing and there is no shame in asking questions, even basic ones. - Shannon Parrish in Blackshear, GA

“Let us know of any entity changes asap!”

It’s really important to let your agent know from start to finish how your farming operation will run and in what entity.  From buying seed or fertilizer, to getting an operating loan or reporting your acres at the FSA office, all names and/or entities should match across the board. Not letting your agent know these changes could compromise your coverage. - Missy Givens in Douglas, GA

“Good communication is the bridge between confusion and clarity.”

I encourage my farmers to always communicate any changes to their operation with me.  Even though the change may not seem like a big deal, it may mean that we need to make some changes to their policy.  It is important to communicate with your Crop Insurance Agent just as you would your Lender or Accountant. - Andrea Whitfield in Statesboro, GA

“Keep good records of your production.”

Farming can be one of the most rewarding professions, watching a tiny seed grow into an abundant crop that helps feed and clothe the world, but that reward comes with a risk. Crop insurance is available for you to mitigate that risk so you can continue your way of life. Some advice I would give is to keep good accurate records of your production and to ask questions if you do not understand what coverage you have on your crops. We’re here to help you in any way! - Heath Wilson in Orangeburg, SC

[READ: Record Keeping Can Help Make Your Farm Successful Now]

“Crop Insurance is one of the most valuable tools to have in a farmer’s toolbox.”

There are tons of insurance products out there best suited for your operation to help mitigate the risks that are involved in farming. From Livestock Risk Protection and Pasture, Rangeland and Forage for cattle producers to Whole Farm Revenue Protection for the smaller scale vegetable producers - these are only a few products that many producers might not be as familiar with.  Crop Insurance is one of the most valuable tools to have in a farmer’s toolbox. Our goal is to establish a great working relationship where we can really get to know your needs and work together to protect the investment of producing the commodity. - Keri Garret in Laurens, SC

“When in doubt, give a shout.”

When it comes to a potential claim, it’s always best to go ahead and let your agent know of any problems up front. It’s better for you to file a notice of loss and not need it, versus not filing one and having needed it. There are particular deadlines that the claims have to be worked within, so it’s best to always give your agent a call early! - Sandra Meeks in Blackshear, GA

“Get as much coverage as you can afford.”

I recommend getting as much coverage as you can afford to offset input costs on a challenging year. Farmers are at the mercy of mother nature. You don’t need insurance until you needed insurance, and one bad year without it can set your operation back years. It can be tempting to get the lowest level of coverage but you’ll be thankful you didn’t when a hurricane or drought comes along. - Steve Brabham in Allendale, SC

“Good record keeping on the front end helps your claim on the back end.”

Proper record keeping is a frequent issue that arises during claim time. This applies to so many aspects of your farming operation, not just your production. Maintaining appropriate input records, receipts, irrigation records, and more on the front end helps your claim on the back end. Appropriate record keeping doesn’t stop there. Making sure that your entity names and records match from inputs to harvest to selling your crop will help ensure there are no hiccups during claim time. If you farm under multiple entities, it is especially important to make sure you are maintaining the appropriate records for each entity. If a claim is ever reviewed or your policy audited, it is typical practice for your production and/or input records all the way back to the prior 3 crop years to be reviewed. You are required to keep your verifiable records for at least that length of time. If you have questions, we are here to help you not just with your coverage but your operation as well. - Katy Fay Galbreath in Vidalia, GA

Need Crop Insurance?

If you're looking for crop insurance in South Carolina or Georgia and have questions or would like to get started, one of our local crop insurance agents would be more than happy to help. Find an AgSouth Branch near you!

Not in South Carolina or Georgia? Find your Farm Credit Association.