Field Insights

How to Safeguard Farm Assets Against Extreme Weather

While no farmer knows the outcome of any season, there are opportunities available to mitigate some of the risks.

“The only trend as it relates to weather is volatility – excessiveness and volatility,” says Marcia Bunger, administrator at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA).

Born and raised on a farm in South Dakota, Bunger currently farms with her husband. She’s experienced unpredictable weather firsthand and through the growers she serves at RMA. Bunger oversees crop insurance across the country and recognizes that excessive moisture, drought, hurricanes, winds and violent weather events are increasingly common. These types of events are devastating, especially for newer operations still building their foundations.

“What’s it going to be this year?”

Farming is financially complex and capital-intense. “In the 1980s, there were a lot of farm sales due to foreclosures,” Bunger says. “That was hard to watch, and we lost neighbors because of the economics of farming.”

Today’s farmers face different economic challenges, but are always wondering, “what’s it going to be this year?” Commodity prices? Interest rates? Wars? Supply chain shortages? Pandemics? And, of course, there’s always the weather.

Support organizations and programs can’t predict input costs or the weather, but they can help offset the risks and farm losses.

“Each and every year, (a farmer’s) total investment is in that crop or that herd of livestock,” Bunger says. “So, when weather comes along and destroys most – if not all – of that year’s crop, without crop insurance, many wouldn’t come back.”

Bunger says she’s seen older generations teach new farmers that crop insurance is an obligation – not an option. But there is little to no awareness about crop insurance in urban agriculture, organic farms and generally underserved populations, leaving many struggling financially each year. To bridge that knowledge gap, RMA made significant investments with partnering universities and local community organizations, helping break down barriers to crop insurance education, awareness and access. They launched two pilot programs within the past year: The RMA Navigator and Building Resiliency.

RMA partners with the University of Arkansas through The RMA Navigator program to hire and train subject matter experts in the Southeast. They assist underserved individuals and communities by connecting them with crop insurance information.


Each and every year, (a farmer’s) total investment is in that crop or that herd of livestock. So, when weather comes along and destroys most – if not all – of that year’s crop, without crop insurance, many wouldn’t come back.

Marcia Bunger Administrator at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA)

Building Resiliency partners with various organizations to recruit, hire, mentor and license people from underserved communities, helping them become loss adjustors and crop insurance agents. The goal is to increase access and availability in those communities.

Assurance fills the gaps

Eric Honeycutt, digital ag solutions marketing lead for Syngenta, remembers being a kid and watching his grandfather on the farm. He recalls how his grandpa checked the weather forecast three times a day: morning, noon and evening. Adverse weather and its impacts were constantly top of mind.

To help ease growers’ concerns over unfavorable weather, Syngenta recommends signing up for its unique weather protection offer, AgriClime™, which gives growers the confidence to invest in a better crop through the purchase of qualifying Syngenta products. Should favorable weather conditions occur during the growing season, the grower could maximize their yield potential – however, if adverse weather conditions occur, Syngenta stands with the grower to share in that risk through the AgriClime program.

Although crop insurance provides security against severe weather, growers may also want extra protection against commodity price risk. Honeycutt points to other assurance offers that are available to qualifying growers of corn and soy, like Cropwise™ Commodity Pro, which helps growers mitigate the risk of downward commodity prices throughout the growing season.

Cropwise Commodity Pro helps reduce farm profit instability by reducing the risk of downward commodities markets. This exclusive program from Syngenta helps protect the value of premium crop protection purchases against commodity price drops during the growing season.

“With Commodity Pro, you have a protection period,” says Honeycutt. “That protection period typically runs from the end of July through middle of October. At the end of July, we will call a strike, which locks in the protection period at the trading price of corn and soybeans on that particular date. From that point until the middle of October, we monitor the daily trading price of corn and soybeans. If the average daily trading price, referred to as an Asian Put Option, declines from the initial locked-in price, then the grower can qualify for a cash back amount, depending on what percent decline occurred during the protection period.”

Proactively mitigating risk can help keep a farm operational from one season to the next. Find your local crop insurance agent and Syngenta retailer or sales representative to enroll in these programs for peace of mind whatever the season brings.