Viewing posts categorised under: Agribusiness

Farm Safety: Identifying Hazards and Managing Risk

Posted July 12, 2017 by Administrator

Investing in insurance is a necessary precaution for farmers. But farmers can take additional steps to protect their investment. For example, avoiding accidents can help minimize injuries and reduce claims. Farmers need to be aware of common hazards, implement safety measures, and train workers to recognize potential threats. While all farms are different, below are some of the most common risks farmers face.

  • Pesticides and herbicides are commonplace on farms. However, failure to use these chemicals with proper precaution can result in burns, respiratory distress, and poisoning.
  • Animals on a farm can inflict several types of injuries. These include crushing, trampling, biting, kicking, and more. Animals can transfer diseases to humans as well such as giardia and ringworm.
  • Any machine with unprotected moving parts can cause injuries. Examples include chain saws and tractors without roll over protection structures (ROPS).
  • Small spaces. Enclosed, tight spaces pose suffocation and poisoning risks. Silos and manure pits, for example, can trap toxic vapors.
  • Drowning is a very real risk on farms. This is especially true for young children in particular. Any body of water, natural or manmade, poses a risk.
  • While most farmers consider weather to be a hazard to their crops, it can also deal out damage to humans as well. Exposure to the elements can result in sunburns, dehydration, hypothermia, and more.

Farmers can take several steps to reduce these risks. Performing regular visual assessments of the farm can help farmers identify potential hazards. Educating all farmhands on risks and best safety practices can reduce injuries. Storing dangerous equipment in a safe location as well as performing regular maintenance on machinery can prevent injuries as well.

As the leading provider of agribusiness insurance, Cline Wood can help farmers identify risks and improve safety. To learn more about farming safety, contact Cline Wood.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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Smart Agriculture and the Internet of Things (IoT)

Posted June 5, 2017 by Administrator

With the combination of both advanced technologies in hardware and software, the Internet of Things (IoT) is able to track and count almost everything, which can greatly reduce waste, cost and loss for agriculture operations. The IoT will transform the agriculture industry by enabling farmers to find solutions to their challenges faster and more effectively. Innovative applications can be designed to address complex issues and therefore increase the quality, quantity, sustainability and effectiveness of crop production.

Here are some breakthrough examples where agricultural businesses are using the IoT in innovative ways:

  • A cutting-edge greenhouse operation uses the Waspmote Plug and Sense IoT Vertical Kit air quality application. Sensor probes are installed a various points to measure identified parameters. The system is programmed and connected to an XBee network with star topology. Two of the sensor modes send the extracted data to the central node at 15 minute intervals. The data is sent via 3G to a server and stored in an internal memory. The information is then visualized through its web interface. Users can take action by controlling the irrigation system through the web.
  • A farming operation is using the IoT to address its labor shortage. Limited by time, the farmers are unable to monitor and provide the required conditions for plants at certain times such as during the night or emergency conditions. To overcome the limitations of the irrigation system in conventional farming and maintain the crops in their optimum environment for growth in terms of soil moisture and temperature. The model of smart irrigation provides and maintains the optimum conditions for their crops. By growing their crops in an environment with sufficient water supply and ideal temperature, plant quality is improved and the productivity of the field is increased as well. Using electronic devices such as smartphones and remote computers, users can log into the Cloud storage to extract sensor data. Users can monitor the crops and control the water pumps and fans using the control panel of the user interface, which does not have to be located at the farm. Also, being able to supply the water directly to the root of the plant prevents weeds from growing, reducing the need for farm hands to help with weeding. Soil temperature also plays a major role in plant health. Being able to use sensors to measure the soil temperature and remotely switch on fans that will reduce overly heated soil will help keep roots moist and retain nutrients.
  • A small, urban farmer looking for a reliable, innovative solution worked with an IoT platform partner to develop a modular, scalable farm operation. Together, they designed a hydroponic farming model that operates inside of an atmospherically-controlled shipping container that allows for year-round growing to provide local, urban environments with produce 365 days a year. They use a connected product management tool to provide more usability and access in how they interact with the farm. A big advantage of the connectivity platform is in the data collection that indicates how well the freight farms are performing, including optimal conditions, various crops and best practices. The data is being used to help farmers proactively prevent problems and troubleshoot to improve quality control.

By providing and maintaining the ideal environment for the growth of crops using innovative applications of IoT, the productivity of crops can be increased and the goal of ensuring adequate food supplies to feed the estimated human population of 9 billion people by the year 2050 will be achieved.

 

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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Insurance Solutions for High Livestock Mortality Rates

Posted May 18, 2017 by Administrator

Raising livestock and poultry is a risky business. That is why farmers need adequate insurance to cover their animals from unexpected events. Farmers have a variety of options available to them when it comes to farm animal insurance. They can opt for customized coverage for the specific types of animals they raise or combine several different policies.

Fundamentals of Livestock Insurance

Farmers can often combine their livestock coverage into their overall farm package. This way, they can have adequate protection for their buildings, livestock, and poultry in the event of a death due to accident or injury. Some policies cover animal deaths due to illness as well, but this is specialized coverage.

Farmers can use the following methods to insure their animals:

  • Herd Coverage: This is the most basic and common coverage. Farmers use this type of insurance to cover a precise number of animals.
  • Blanket Coverage: This type of policy insures all farm property. It includes buildings, livestock, equipment, and so on.
  • Individual Coverage: This policy covers animals with higher worth. The policy explicitly states which animals are covered. The corresponding animals often have an identifying feature such as an ear tag.

Farmers can also purchase insurance unique to their livestock. Some examples include:

  • Cattle insurance
  • Pig insurance
  • Poultry insurance

Farm insurance packages often cover animals such as sheep and goats, so farmers do not need specific policies for these animals.

Farmers invest a lot of time and money into their animals. For many farmers, their livestock is their livelihood so they cannot afford to neglect insurance. To learn more about insuring livestock, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

 

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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Weight Limit Exemption for Dairy Truck Drivers

Posted April 25, 2017 by Administrator

A recent federal regulation now allows states to adjust how they treat milk trucks versus other haulers. This amendment to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act authorizes states to issue special permits to milk truck drivers regarding weight limits as well as treat their dairy cargo as a non-divisible load.

One state, Connecticut, has already taken advantage of this revision. Prior to the change in law, Connecticut milk haulers had to travel with their trucks at 80 percent capacity. This meant it required five trucks to haul four trucks worth of milk. This provides two significant benefits:

  • Small and mid-sized farmers can now use the full capacity of their dairy trucks, which helps them save money
  • More economic use of milk trucks means less traffic on state roads

Exemption Improves Road Safety

While helping dairy farmers save money is a considerable benefit, improving road safety is a much farther-reaching advantage. Traffic congestion is not only aggravating, it is a major source of risk to truck drivers and passenger vehicle alike. Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are harder to maneuver and bring to a complete stop than passenger vehicles. While CMV drivers can do their part to ensure they are following safe driving practices, they cannot account for how other vehicles will drive around them.

Reducing the number of trucks to deliver the same amount of cargo is a necessary step for improving road safety.  It is vital for dairy farmers and milk truck drivers to stay up to date with which states are cashing in on this amendment to the FAST Act. Dairy haulers often cross state lines, so they need to ensure their cargo weight meets each state’s rules. To stay up to date with the latest federal regulations affecting agribusinesses, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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Fertilizer Manufacturers Cannot Neglect Insurance

Posted April 18, 2017 by Administrator

Agribusiness Insurance CoverageManufacturing fertilizer, like many things, used to be a simpler process – create and distribute high quality organic material for enriching soil. Now fertilizer manufacturers must remain aware of a variety of factors to avoid potential lawsuits, from pollution liability and cyber liability to employment practices liability and beyond.

For example, individuals who live near fertilizer plants may complain of the smell and raise concerns about water contamination from runoff. There are numerous ways fertilizer can damage the environment. To avoid financial ruin, manufacturers need to ensure they have ample insurance to protect their business.

An Overlooked Risk Within the Industry

Many agribusiness companies invest in the standard types of insurance coverage such as farm liability protection or equipment coverage. However, the fertilizer manufacturing industry has one lesser-known risk that business owners cannot afford to disregard: the combustible properties of stored fertilizer and related chemicals.

In the spring of 2013, an explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant proved deadly. While investigators determined the fire was set on purpose, the explosive nature of materials found at fertilizer plants is undeniable. The investigation determined that the company in question, West Fertilizer Company, failed to take proper precautions when storing chemicals at their facility. The company became the target of numerous lawsuits as a result.

While the West Fertilizer Company explosion is a worst-case scenario for businesses, it represents why fertilizer manufacturers cannot afford to neglect known threats. Investing in the right types of insurance can reduce your risk. Cline Wood can help you manage your risk to protect your bottom line. To learn more, contact us.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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Helping Feed the World

Posted April 17, 2017 by Erin

To watch the video, click here.

Argo Group has a role in protecting vital industries across the globe, from agriculture to manufacturing and hundreds of others. One reason for Argo’s success in so many sectors has to do with the partnerships it forms, prompted by its emphasis on collaboration with clients.

One such collaboration is helping Cattle Empire, one of the nation’s largest cattle-feeding operations. Argo, in partnership with broker Cline Wood, a Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC company, covers the herd and property against loss.

Lucas Christensen, chief financial officer for Cattle Empire, grew up on a cattle ranch in Montana. He understands the importance of having an insurance partner dedicated to the concept of sustainability.

Christensen recalls a bumper sticker on the car he drove as a teenager when he fed the animals. It read: “Ranchers: the original environmentalists.”

“I think that’s something I grew up understanding and learning that we live off the land and off the animals, and so it’s in our best interests to take care of those,” Christensen says.

He appreciates the role that Argo plays in keeping his operation running smoothly.

“More so than the monetary recovery of loss, which is important, is the speed in which we are helped,” Christensen says. “If we have a major loss, we need partners with us that will stand by us and be ready to aid us at a moment’s notice.”

Article originally published on Argolimited.com, to view the full article click here.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

 

 

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Understanding Crop Insurance

Posted March 14, 2017 by Administrator

Crop insurance is a vital part of operating a farm. It allows for competition and innovation while offering protection from the unexpected. This way, farmers can stay in business in the event that their crops fail. Many crop insurance policies are customizable, so farmers can shape their policy to address their specific risks. U.S. farmers have two types of crop insurance available to them: Crop Hail Insurance and Multiple Peril Crop Insurance (MPCI).

Crop Hail Insurance

Farmers receive these policies from private insurers rather than the Federal Crop Insurance Program. Farmers can purchase this type of policy at any time during the growing season. Farmers opt to purchase this type of insurance because hail has the exceptional ability to damage substantial sections of planted fields while leaving the remainder untouched. The main purpose of this policy is to safeguard high-yielding crops in hail-prone areas.

Multiple Peril Crop Insurance

Unlike Crop Hail Insurance, farmers must purchase MPCI policies before they begin planting their crops. This type of insurance covers a variety of natural disasters such as:

  • Drought
  • Disease
  • Frost
  • Too much moisture

There are only 18 private companies authorized to write MPCI policies under the Federal Crop Insurance Program. The United States Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency (USDA RMA) regulates the Federal Crop Insurance Program and determines what rates insurers can charge. The RMA also decides which crops these private companies can insure in which parts of the country.

Farmers cannot afford to neglect their insurance coverage. They also need a variety of insurance policies to protect their business. As a leading provider of agribusiness insurance, Cline Wood can help farmers identify risks to their investment as well as provide services tailored to address their specific needs. Contact us to learn more.

This document is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. Marsh & McLennan Agency LLC shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein. Any statements concerning actuarial, tax, accounting or legal matters are based solely on our experience as consultants and are not to be relied upon as actuarial, accounting, tax or legal advice, for which you should consult your own professional advisors. Any modeling analytics or projections are subject to inherent uncertainty and the analysis could be materially affective if any underlying assumptions, conditions, information or factors are inaccurate or incomplete or should change.

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Hidden Risks for Dairy Farmers

Posted February 23, 2017 by Administrator

Many dairy farmers’ top priority is their cows’ projected milk yield. They focus on elements that affect their cows’ health and wellbeing such as preventing common diseases and providing proper housing for the animals. Many are expecting a higher yield of milk by pounds per cow. This is largely due to enhanced nutrient content and digestibility of 2016’s forage crops. However, unexpected challenges threaten this projection.

Harvest Delays and Grain Maturation

The 2016 corn silage and high moisture harvest pose certain risks to dairy farmers. For one, harvesting was delayed. This resulted in the plants and grains maturing past their optimal stages. This contributed to diminished nutrition quality of the harvest, which has a direct effect on dairy cows and their milk output.

Defensive Tactics

There are numerous options available to dairy farmers to combat this issue. Unfortunately, decreased dairy performance is rarely a single-culprit issue. Multiple factors often combine to reduce the animals’ health as well as milk output. Some of these are anti-nutrition factors such as mold, yeast, and toxins.

Other elements are bacteria-based. Sometimes, feed or other toxins found on the farm can overwhelm an already nutritionally deficient cow. Other times, excessive starch in the animals’ diets can create the perfect environment for mold and bacteria to take over in the intestines and hindgut. The best way to avoid this scenario is by dairy farmers, consultants, and trusted veterinarians working together.

Outside factors affecting production is not unique to dairy farmers. Nearly all trades that fall under the agribusiness umbrella will feel the sting of external influences on their bottom line at some point. While these companies can take steps to work together and mitigate these issues, having appropriate insurance is vital. Cline Wood is the paramount provider of agribusiness insurance products. We treat your business as our own and provide customized services to meet your needs. Contact us to learn more.

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Know the Risks Your Agribusiness Faces

Posted February 9, 2017 by Administrator

Agribusinesses face a variety of risks that other businesses do not. Some risks, such as events that affect pricing, are the same for all institutions. Other risks are unique to agriculture-based businesses, such as farming. If you own an agribusiness, you need to familiarize yourself with all of the risks that can affect your company. Below are some of the common risk factors farmers face.

Price Risk

Problems with pricing often occur after a farmer has already committed to production. Production is a lengthy process for agribusinesses. For example, farmers must invest in feed and equipment to produce the best possible livestock. It can take months or even years to see a return on their investment. During this period in time, global and local market pricing can shift and have a dramatic effect on farmers’ bottom line.

Production Risk

Agribusinesses face distinctive production risks compared to other industries. Some examples include harsh weather, droughts, insects, and a variety of other environmental factors. These elements are uncontrollable and sometimes unpredictable, which can hinder production output.

Institutional Risk

Changes to government policies can affect multiple industries. For farmers, the biggest risks come with changes to regulations regarding how they grow their crops and raise their livestock as this can have a significant effect on production costs. Other changes that can affect farmers are rules regarding manure disposal, conservation and land use mandates, or tax law updates.

Agribusinesses cannot afford to ignore these risks. The best way to reduce risk is to invest in the proper types and amount of insurance. To learn more about how insurance can reduce your agribusiness’ risk, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

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Protecting Your Farm with Uniquely Tailored Coverages

Posted January 18, 2017 by Administrator

Maintaining a successful farm is not an easy job. Some may argue it is not a job at all, but a way of life. Unfortunately, farms face a number of threats that jeopardize farmers’ livelihood. In order to ensure a thriving farming environment, farmers need to be aware of the risks and take measures to mitigate them. The best way to do so is by investing in coverages that are uniquely tailored to the risk exposure of your area and the nature of your business.

Types of Insurance All Farmers Need

With the right insurance, farmers can remove the stress of worrying about risk factors and instead focus on the farm itself. There are four types of insurance all farmers should consider.

  • Farm liability protection. This insurance protects individuals from losing their farms because of liability issues. This includes bodily injury, associated medical costs, and damage to other people’s property. It can also provide legal defense if necessary.
  • Dwelling coverage. This is often part of a homeowner’s insurance policy. It provides coverage for damage to the individual’s home in the event of a disaster. Some examples include hail, windstorms, theft, and vandalism.
  • Farm equipment coverage. This type of insurance offers coverage for farming equipment, materials, and machines. This insurance can provide blanket protection up to a certain dollar amount or individuals can itemize high-cost items.
  • Barn insurance. Farmers purchase this type of insurance for barns and other buildings on their property. Some examples include buildings that house livestock, equipment, and so on.

By taking these necessary precautions, farmers can reduce their risk. This will allow farmers to focus more of their attention on operating their farm than worrying about what threatens it. To learn more about how insurance can improve your agribusiness, contact the experts at Cline Wood.

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