Viewing posts from: July 2015

3 Ways Agribusiness Owners Can Lower Their Insurance Premiums

Posted July 28, 2015 by Administrator

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Insurance agencies often offer credits for lower insurance premiums based on specific factors, such as driving records, worker’s compensation history and recorded training programs. Here are the top tips for saving money on insurance costs for agribusiness insurance costs:

  1. Increase your deductible

When you raise your deductible to the highest amount you are comfortable handling, it lowers your monthly premium.

Depending on the type of buildings you have, you may be able to reduce your premium by electing to go with an actual cash settlement as opposed to a replacement cost settlement. You may also be allowed to exclude coverage on buildings that you would not elect to rebuild in event of a major loss.

You can apply these principles to motor vehicles as well. You may elect to not have physical damage coverage on some or all of your vehicles in order to save money on monthly premiums.

  1. Put safety first

Setting up a well-documented safety program is a great way to ensure insurance savings. Create a culture of safety by being organized, keeping your facility neat and orderly, and making sure all required regulations (such as fire extinguishers) are installed and maintained. Make sure all employees are wearing goggles and gloves when working with anhydrous. Ensure all employees know and follow all safety policies and procedures.

One strategy for ensuring a culture of safety is to appoint someone to be the “safety coordinator.” This helps to keep everyone accountable and ensures quality control checks are kept up-to-date.

Another strategy is to investigate all accidents to find out what caused the accident and what could be done to prevent future incidences. Building a safety culture can result in lowered insurance premiums.

  1. Be Diligent about Prevention Measures

Insuring a feed and grain facility is not like insuring an office building. Unlike barns or other agriculture buildings, an office building has a much lower risk of dangers such as fire or explosions. There are a lot of hazards in an agricultural setting than many other types of work environments. Regularly conducting facility maintenance, maintaining regular sanitation routines and keeping things organized and put away where they belong can go a long way toward reducing the risk of fire or other disasters.

Installing preventative measures such as heat warning devices, spark detectors and flame suppressants will help to reduce the fire risk. Bundling wires together, keeping floors and working areas tidy, replacing bad belts and bearings are examples of ways regular maintenance and upkeep can lead to lower insurance premiums by reducing accidents that my cause harm to your employees and the facility.

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Dangerous Air Pollution and Greenhouse Gas Emissions a High Price to Pay for Refrigerated Transportation of Perishable Goods

Posted July 21, 2015 by Administrator

thermo kingPrior to 1949 perishable foods were shipped in trucks packed with ice. As the sun melted the ice, the temperature in the truck would rise, causing rotting and spoilage. by the turn of the century, refrigerated storage helped turn the American food supply system into a national supply chain but the lack of a sufficient method for transporting food and other perishable goods for any distance was the weakest link in the food supply chain.

In 1949 an inventor named Fred McKinley Jones, inventor and self-taught engineer, designed and patented the world’s first refrigerated truck. To this day, the country relies on Jones’ invention, which was originally used by the Defense Department in World War II, to transport everything from blood plasma to ice-cold Coca Cola to the troops. Thermo King trucks, as they eventually because known, became an essential link in the country’s food delivery system through-out the 1950s and ‘60s. Suddenly there was a new retail landscape of warehouse distribution centers and supermarkets with increasingly enormous and remote farms, feedlots and processing facilities.

Suddenly, the food market exploded with economies of scale, causing the price of meat and other perishable commodities to become affordable for most Americans. This created a perpetual supply of food that before had only been available during short harvesting seasons by local or regional farmers; the result has clearly meant the preservation of food and prevention of a great deal of food waste.

But there is a darker side of truck refrigeration of which every American needs be aware. The emissions from refrigerated trucks pose a threat to the environment. Freight transportation emissions account for just fewer than 6 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions; that number is expected to rise as the global truck fleet is expected to expand by at least 5 times in the next 10 years. The hydrofluorocarbon chemicals that refrigerated trucks use in their cooling cycle are referred to as “super-greenhouse gases” because they are thousands of times more warming than CO2.

Part of the problem is that in order to install transport refrigeration units at the right price point and small enough to fit them into a vehicle mean that they are not always the most efficient. On average, cold trucks use 25 percent more fuel than other commercial motor freight carriers. They release more than 29 times the polluting particulate matter of the truck’s main engine.

There are new transportation refrigeration technologies in the research and development phase. One such refrigeration unit runs off of a tank of liquid nitrogen, which circulates cold air and absorbs heat in the vehicle. As it warms it expands, generating enough pressure to generate power.

Another technology is based on cryogenic temperature control systems. According to California’s Air Resources Board, these liquid nitrogen refrigeration units are much quieter, contain no polluting refrigeration chemicals, and most importantly, generate no greenhouse gas emission, unlike the current freight refrigeration engines. Look for new mobile refrigeration units in the future that will revolutionize the freight refrigeration cooling industry.

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Understanding Crop Insurance Tax Deferment

Posted July 14, 2015 by Administrator

There have been significant drought conditions in certain parts of the country in the last few years, producing the need for clarification on crop insurance and tax regulations. In general, crop insurance proceeds are taxed in the year of receipt. A crop insurance beneficiary can elect to defer the tax liability until the following year. So in most cases the beneficiary will pay the taxes on the insurance payout in the year the payout is received, but a one-time election could be taken allowing the payment to be deferred until the following tax year.

There are, however, conditions that must be met in order for the beneficiary to be eligible for the one-time deferment.

  1. The insurance proceeds must have been received in the year the crop was produced.
  2. The majority of the taxpayer’s crop sold in the year following the year of production.
  3. The taxpayer must be using the cash method of accounting.

The tax deferment is an “all or nothing” type of election. For example, if the taxpayer received $50,000 in crop insurance related to production issues and $10,000 related to price issues, the $10,000 related to price issues must be paid in the year of receipt. The taxpayer could elect to defer the $50,000 if the above conditions are met, but must defer the entire amount.

May crop insurance products provide coverage for multiple types of qualifying conditions, such as poor production and low prices. If the beneficiary receives a payout for multiple coverage conditions they will need a breakdown of the benefit payout that specifies the amount for each condition. The taxpayer should retain the information in case the IRS requests it.

Please consult your tax advisor for more information about tax rules as they apply to agriculture insurance. Cline Wood Agency is a leading provider of agribusiness products. We would love to speak with you if you have any questions about agriculture-related insurance. Contact us through our website or call us at 888-451-3900.

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Farmers Encouraged to Speak Out to Educate the Public about the Long-Term Effects of a Gluten-Free Diet

Posted July 6, 2015 by Administrator

Gluten-Free-GrainsA growing number of Americans are following a gluten-free or reduced gluten diet. In 2013, 30% of U.S. adults reported they had eliminated or reduced gluten in their diet. (Center for Celiac Disease Research & Treatment) The gluten-free food and beverage market reached approximately $10.5 billion during 2013.

Only about 1% of the population are diagnosed with celiac disease, and only 7-8% are gluten intolerant. While celiac disease is a serious ailment that needs to addressed for those diagnosed with the condition, there have been some “authorities” that have taken the science behind celiac disease out of context and made claims that gluten is toxic.

In reality, gluten is not toxic for most people. A gluten insensitivity may trigger an autoimmune response, allergy or intolerance in people who are predisposed to the condition and are unable to digest gluten in their small intestine. But for the majority, whole grains are a part of a healthy, long-term sustainable diet. There are important nutrients such as fiber, iron, B vitamins, calcium and zinc that, if not consumed, can lead to iron deficiencies, osteoporosis and constipation.

The farming industry is taking steps to educate consumers about the importance of whole grains in a healthy diet and countering the negative effect the current gluten-free food fad is having on North American grain growers. Many farmers are concerned about those who make negative or inaccurate claims about the agriculture industry and its practices without really doing a thorough investigation.

For example, in 2012 the book titled “Wheat Belly” by William Davis became a bestseller. The book argued that today’s wheat is genetically different than the wheat our ancestors consumed and therefore modern humans aren’t equipped to digest it. The book blames wheat and gluten for many diseases and suggests that people cut gluten out of their diets completely.

Preliminary findings in a study conducted by the Healthy Grains Institute (Alberta Wheat Commission) on wheat grown from 100-year old seeds has found there isn’t any significant difference between the wheat grown from older seeds and modern seeds.

Many people in the agriculture community are convinced that the current gluten-free fad diet will fade away in time. Grain farmer proponents encourage additional research and organized educational campaigns to communicate scientific evidence and help consumers be informed before making dietary choices.

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