Steinbarger Brings Unique Crop Insurance Perspective to Farm Bill Hearings

As both a farmer and a crop insurance professional, Anngie Steinbarger brought a unique perspective Wednesday to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry’s first hearing on the farm bill in the 113th Congress.

Steinbarger farms 1,500 acres of corn and soybeans and runs a small cow/calf operation with her husband near Edinburgh, IN. She is also a regional marketing manager for ProAg® Insurance, a nationwide provider of crop insurance.

“It has always been our dream to farm,” Steinbarger said. “We started farming 600 acres and have increased the operation to 1,500 acres. We continue to work off the farm as it is still not self-supporting.”

Dealing with dry conditions
Testifying on behalf of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and the American Soybean Association (ASA), Steinbarger joined farmers representing the livestock and specialty crop industries in detailing the impacts of the historic drought of 2012 and expressing the importance of protecting crop insurance as Congress moves to pass a comprehensive farm bill later this year.

“The number one barrier to increasing our yields is lack of water. Dry weather in the months of July and August always limits our yield potential,” Steinbarger noted in her testimony. Employing conservation tillage to reduce erosion and water use is one way the Steinbargers cope with dry conditions.

“To manage our thin, light soil types, we started our farming operation employing conservation tillage techniques such as CRP and NRCS cost share funding. To this day, we still are advocates of no-till farming as a way to preserve our soil and maintain soil moisture,” she explained.

Their other weapon is crop insurance. “We find crop insurance an effective tool in managing risk when we experience these weather events,” said Steinbarger in her testimony. “We began using crop insurance in 1991 as a way to maintain our cash reserves and prevent the need to borrow operating money.”

Steinbarger joined her fellow witnesses in reinforcing the fact that crop insurance is not a profit center for farmers. “Our goal is not to make money off of crop insurance, but to balance our yearly revenue so we will have operating money for the following crop year,” she stressed. “We paid a substantial premium for crop insurance, and that decision is keeping us in business for the 2013 crop year.”

For a transcript of Steinbarger’s testimony, please click here.

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