New Videos Offer Insight Into 2011 Farm Disasters

May 25, 2012

With payments from crop insurers to farmers approaching the $11 billion mark, 2011 will go down in the record books as one of the most destructive and costliest weather years in history.  A new video series recently launched by National Crop Insurance Services captures the human side of the issue, with testimonials from farmers, a banker, and a crop insurance agent about the role crop insurance played in helping people pick up the pieces and plant again in 2012.

The first video focuses on flooding in the Midwest and contains footage of the destruction caused when the Missouri River left its banks and engulfed millions of acres of farmland.

Ruth Gerdes, a farmer and crop insurance agent from Auburn, Nebraska, with 39 clients who not only lost their farms but their homes as well, called 2011  a “year that I will never forget.”  Gerdes describes how she personally felt watching grain bins being crushed “like aluminum cans” as the raging waters overwhelmed the levees and crushed everything in its path.

In sharp contrast to the unrelenting flooding was the unforgiving drought and heat wave in the southern plains – in particular Texas – which is the focus of the second case study.   The video highlights the extent of the damage throughout the state of Texas and features interviews with a banker as well as a farmer.

Matt Huie, a farmer and rancher from Beeville, Texas, who raises corn, milo and cotton, explained that while 2011 got off to a good start, the complete lack of rainfall from Spring through Fall left his crops withered and his cattle without hay.

“Farmers can set neither the weather — Mother Nature does what she does whether we like it or not — and we have little control over market prices or input prices,” he said during the piece.  Huie added that “good policy can create survivors in an industry where they otherwise wouldn’t survive.”

And thank goodness these farmers did survive to plant a 2012 crop.  After all, agriculture has proven to be an unmatched success story for America in these difficult economic times.