Farmers saw significant damage in their fields from this year's drought. But, they're not letting a natural disaster change their springtime planting plans for 2013. Some Wisconsin farmers didn’t realize the level of damage they suffered until fall. That’s when Dodgeville farmer Ryan Dolan discovered that less than 20% of his corn crop was harvestable. Despite the tough year, Dolan says he’s still planting corn next year, even with the possibility of a second year of drought, “I’m trying to be positive and hope for a better year, you know? I don’t really want to make too many decisions based on one year.”
The drought of 2012 does have farmers doing one thing differently for next year. They're minimizing risk by buying more insurance.
One Wisconsin ag lender is seeing hundreds more farmers than usual seeking coverage. Michelle Austin is the Insurance Services Director for Badgerland Financial. She says farmers, especially in heavily drought areas, are applying for expanded coverage for not just their crops, but their farms too, “A lot of producers are looking for maybe some add on products, some supplemental coverage. Just based on what we’re looking at today, because on what we are facing, and we’re still considered to be in a drought area, so it’s definitely on the mind for producers.”
Insurance companies are also making themselves available outside of their offices during the winter, signing on as exhibitors at agriculture expos and seminars throughout the state.