Whether it is a new farmer needing to pay for land and get an
operation set up, buying equipment, tools and entering a first year
of inputs, or if it is one who is experienced, needing to replace
equipment or a get bridge loan, there usually comes a time to
borrow, especially in a low production year.
The drought of 2012, while not necessarily a deterrent for any
new farmers who would join the agricultural fray, did leave most
farmers of Logan County with a much smaller yield than in previous
The average corn yield for Logan County's 2012 harvest was 96.5
bushels per acre, a significant 44 percent drop from the 2011 yield
of 173.4 bushels of corn per acre.
Beans fared in a similar manner, but better. Due to some
late-season rainfall, the soybean harvest did not fall as sharply as
expected. With the average yield for Logan County dropping from 54.6
bushels to 47.3 bushels per acre, beans were down by only 13
There are people who say that weather often occurs in cycles. If
that is the case, there is the possibility that a drought of similar
magnitude could occur again, especially if the relatively dry winter
is any indication.
The decrease in corn and beans per acre hit the farming community
rather hard, but this is not to say that people were unprepared for
such an event. Quite the opposite. With the aid of federal programs
and crop insurance, farmers were prepared for a drought like that of
From the perspective of people like Rick Harbarger, a farmer and
banker, the possibility of a continued drought cycle does not
discourage the farming community.
"Crop insurance is an advantage, even if there is more of a
drought," said Harbarger. He added that even if the weather is more
advantageous this year, having insurance is still a good idea for
Harbarger himself farms under a revenue protection plan with a
harvest price option, or HPO. Under an HPO, revenue guarantees
increase when the harvest price exceeds the projected price for a
Harbarger says he is more than willing to pay for crop insurance,
as high coverage levels will help to ensure he sees a good financial
turnout after a season.
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"I bought crop insurance starting in 1989, though I really needed
it in '88," says Harbarger. The drought of 1988 continues to come to
mind when thinking of 2012.
There is still a question left to answer: What about those
farmers who do not decide to purchase crop insurance?
From what Harbarger has seen after 2012, those without crop
insurance did not fare too badly, all things considered.
"As for the customers I have worked with, I think there were only
a couple of people who didn't have crop insurance, and they still
did OK," said Harbarger. He attributed this partially to farmers
receiving loans in order to make up for lost profit.
Harbarger still recommends to those who do not already do it,
that they purchase crop insurance.
Harbarger is an employee of Logan County Bank and farms 650
acres, primarily corn, between Elkhart and Mount Pulaski. He has
been farming since 1977.
[By DEREK HURLEY]