Kenny Barnwell is a fifth-generation apple grower in the mountains of North Carolina. His family farm covers approximately 150 acres and is home to 26 different varieties of apples.
This year has been tough for apple growers in North Carolina, much like farmers across the country. Apple growers have faced weather-related damages to their crop and fear revenue losses due to the COVID-19 threat and a decline in agri-tourism.
Despite the uncertainty, Barnwell takes comfort in knowing that he can rely on crop insurance.
He recently shared the importance of maintaining a strong crop insurance program in a column he wrote in his local paper, the Hendersonville Lightning:
The fact that I have a safety net under me with crop insurance helps me sleep at night, especially this season. I worked as a crop insurance adjuster for about 10 years, so I know just how well this public-private partnership works.
Crop insurance uses the efficiency of the private sector to quickly get relief to farmers so they can stay in business and continue producing the food, fiber and fuel that now, more than ever, are critical parts of our collective safety and security.
Crop insurance covers 3.5 million acres in North Carolina and provides $1.7 billion in protection. And as Barnwell notes in his piece, farmers have a role to play in their own protection by investing in crop insurance policies.
“The government keeps crop insurance affordable and widely available but it’s not free,” Barnwell wrote. “Farmers bought 1.1 million crop insurance policies last year, collectively paying $3.75 billion in premiums and shouldering more than $10 billion in deductibles.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, America’s farmers and ranchers have continued their essential work, feeding our nation. Crop insurance has been by their side every step of the way. Barnwell noted the importance of protecting a steady food supply:
As our nation recovers from the pandemic, and consumers learn more about where their food comes from, I encourage lawmakers to maintain a strong system of crop insurance to help ensure the safety and security of our nation.
Every American can sleep a little bit sounder knowing that crop insurance helps our farmers and ranchers feed our nation, no matter what challenges lie ahead.