Author

Sarah Bieber

Sarah Bieber


Feb 18, 2021

by Sarah Bieber

As with any crop insurance year, 2021 enters with a few changes to current programs and policies PLUS a couple new coverage options.  When making decisions on your crop insurance, it is always best to be fully informed.  With that in mind, below is a recap of the changes for the 2021 Crop Year. Policy Changes - Commodity Direct Market changes to allow those insureds that sell their commodities at roadside stands to generally combine production records. - Coverage availability in new counties/states, reporting date changes - Contract pricing and quality adjustment changes - Coverage level and subsidy increases - Coverage requirement changes - Unit structure changes, removal of Storage Endorsement certification and Canner types Program Changes Beginning or Veteran Farmer & Rancher (BFR/VFR) Criteria revised to clarify that a BFR or VFR may use the previous producer's APH on any acreage obtained by the BFR or VFR when all of the following apply. BFRVFR was previously involved (in decision making or physical activity) in a farming operation for the crop or livestock; Acreage has history for the crop or livestock; and Previous producer consents. Prevent Planting Eligibility Revised to provide that if following a failed first insured crop an uninsured second crop is planted on the same acres within the same crop year, the planted acres of the uninsured crop will not be subtract from the eligible planting (PP) acreage. Field Rule - Added another exception to the 20/20 rule:  Insured provides proof of intent to plant another crop or crop type on the acreage. One in Four (“1 in 4”) Requirement This was revised to expand the rule nationwide.  This requirement impacts acreage “available to plant’ as it relates to PP claims.  To be considered ‘available to plant for PP purposes, the acreage must: In at least 1 of the last 4 most recent crop years immediately preceding the current crop year, have been planted to a crop; Using recognized good farming practices; Insured under the authority of the Act; Was harvested, or if not harvested, was adjusted for claim purposes under the Act due to an insurable cause of loss (other than a cause loss related to flood, excess moisture, drought, or other cause of loss specified in the Special Provisions). Intended Acreage Report Revised to allow the option to use an intended acreage report for a second year.  Insured who were eligible to file an intended acreage report the first year will be eligible to file for the second year.  You may file for the second year whether you filed for the first year or not.  If you file for the seon year, eligibility will be based on second year filing and not prior year history. Corn planted on acreage following a crop that has been prevented from being planted will not be considered a cover crop. New Products Enhanced Coverage Option (ECO) A NEW optional endorsement that provides area-based coverage for a portion of the deductible of the underlying MPCI policy. ECO is available at 95% or 90% coverage level (trigger).  Both options offer a coverage band down to 86% providing 9% or 4% coverage, respectively.  ECO functions similarly to SCO, although ARC/PLC participation has no effect on eligibility.  You have the option to add SCO, on an area basis, down to the underlying MPCI coverage level.  ECO is available on 31 spring planted crops (available on fall-planted crops in 2022) and must be elected by Sales Closing Date. Coverage Options Quality Loss Option (QL) Allows you to replace actual yields based on post-quality production in your APH Database(s) with actual yields based on pre-quality total production. A Notice of Loss must have been filed timely and had quality-adjusted production, regardless of whether an indemnity payment occurred. This is available on several corps, including coarse grains and small grains.  Election must be made by Sales Closing date on a crop/county basis, but by Production Reporting Date, you can choose to opt out on specific databases or CropYears. Interested in a second opinion on your policy? to learn more about our expert agents and data-backed approach to crop insurance.


Nov 24, 2020

by Sarah Bieber

Over the past few years, one of the biggest financial issues farmers have had to contend with is affordable healthcare. Rachael Vonderhaar can tell you from personal experience. Rachael is part of a multi-generational farming operation in Southwest Ohio, an hour north of Cincinnati and just off the Indiana state line.  The Vonderhaar family looks like a lot of other Midwestern farmers: They grow corn, beans and wheat and run a cow-calf operation. She farms with her husband, Alan; her son, Adam; and her father-in-law, Leonard, who still helps out with planting and harvest. “Just before the 2016 election, we got a notice that we were losing our healthcare plan,” Rachael says. “All the private insurers were pulling out of our county, and our broker was very kind about it, but he told us there was nothing available to us.” On December 31, 2016, a plan for which they qualified showed up on the exchange — but “qualifying” still meant paying full price.  After a year on this plan, one insurer returned to their county, offering more services for the price, but still, charging more than $2,000 a month for a high deductible plan. “It was mind-blowing to us,” Rachael says. In 2019, while attending the Commodity Classic, Rachael heard about what ® had to offer. All the services offered as a part of the ® membership were intriguing, but the opportunities for a better health plan sealed the deal. Apply for coverage through FBN ® Health “Healthcare had become one of the biggest financial challenges we have had to figure out,” says Rachael. “Once the Affordable Care Act went through, our monthly amounts just kept increasing, creating a real issue for us.” In Spring 2020, the Vonderhaars received notice that their premium was increasing to $2,400 a month. It made the decision to switch to Health easy.  Today, the Vonderhaars estimate they are saving $1,000 per month through Health. Their plan still has a higher deductible, but the upfront savings leave them with more money in their pockets for when they do have to make big decisions.  For their family farm, it gives them some breathing room when it comes to buying inputs, and it made the decision much easier when their son Adam graduated college and wanted to come back to the farm.  And, equally as important, it’s been very easy to use.  One of the most significant perks is that they can now use an out-of-state doctor and still be in-network — a big deal when the best hospital for your family is just across the nearby state line. This is something that previous plans hadn’t allowed for.   “ Health alone was enough to make us want to become members,” Rachael says. “It has completely changed how we feel about health coverage.” Get coverage designed for farmers through Health Fill out our online application to receive a free quote, compare plans and see how much you can potentially save by signing up for coverage through Health.


Nov 23, 2020

by Sarah Bieber

A fifth-generation farmer, J.P. Rhea is a large-scale organic producer just north of Omaha, Neb. His operation farms 10,000 acres of predominantly organic alfalfa, corn, beans and small grains. They also have a cattle feedlot and an ingredient manufacturing facility.  Last winter, he signed his operation - which includes 35 employees - up for coverage through Health . We asked J.P. a few questions about making that decision and what his experience has been so far. Q: What was the major driver that moved you toward Health? Frankly, there aren’t a lot of good healthcare coverage options out there for small businesses, and it can be tough to navigate the marketplace. The whole industry feels stacked against you, almost in a “take it or leave it” way. I appreciated how came in with a different way to look at it and provided up with some alternative options.  In Year One, we’ve seen a savings of more than $50,000. Q: What do savings like that mean for an operation like yours? The biggest thing is that we can continue to provide health coverage to our employees. We’ve seen these costs increase over and over, and the price just gets harder and harder to justify. This step back in cost enables us to continue taking care of our team in the way we want to. We’re a family business, so we want to take care of our employees and their families. They are loyal to us, and being loyal to them is the right thing for us to do.  From the business side, we are fairly close to the Omaha metropolitan area, which means we compete with manufacturing businesses for labor. Health coverage is pretty standard in those jobs, so for us to compete for labor, we need to provide what the market encourages. Apply for coverage through FBN ® Health Q: How long have you been with ? We first signed up with four or five years ago, and we were still farming some conventional acres. We started out mainly interested in price shopping and having some price transparency on chemicals. Since then, however, we’ve really started to take advantage of more things has to offer.  At every step, we’ve seen really good value. We’ve bought chem, we’ve purchased organic ingredients and seed corn - and now our health coverage and some of our crop insurance are with as well. At every turn, has offered great value or extraordinary service, and health is no different.  We really appreciate what is doing to help farmers and give them better choices and more options. Everything might not work for every farmer, and that’s ok. Across the offerings, we’ve been impressed with how FBN has evolved, and we are excited to continue to work with them in the future. Get coverage designed for farmers through Health Fill out our online application to receive a free quote, compare plans and see how much you can potentially save by signing up for coverage through Health.