Brook Haven Farms is planning for the long term.
With ambitious goals for the farm and an aggressive business strategy, Brook Haven Farms is balancing the challenges that come with each growing season and a plan to keep the farm in the family for generations to come. With two of four kids now working on the farm, their dream is for Brook Haven Farms to provide for the entire family for decades to come.
They have made smart investments in their equipment, operations and inputs – and so they needed to ensure that a tough season or two wouldn’t put their goals at risk. As a farm focused on growing their profitability, they’ve been aggressive with their investments and their marketing strategy.
Their strategy puts them in a great position to succeed, but also increase the family’s level of risk. Weary of the destructive boom and bust cycle of a bad year limiting their ability to farm the way they want to, the family looked to upgrade their risk management plan to better align with their needs.
Ideally, they’d find a solution that covered the areas where they were taking on greater risks: increasing their investment in crop inputs, and more aggressive marketing strategies – areas where traditional crop insurance products and AgriStability fell short of their needs.
Brook Haven Farms chose the superior protection of Full-Coverage Production Cost Insurance.
The family sat down with their Global Ag Risk Solutions advisor at the kitchen table to review the options. Taking the time to truly understand Brook Haven’s needs – both today and in the long-term – helped the family see opportunities to reduce their risks and lean into their strategy with greater confidence.
Their desire to market aggressively and to chase higher yields during the season by farming hard pointed to a need for both inputs protection and a gross-margin guarantee. Ultimately, they chose Full-Coverage Production Cost Insurance. This whole-farm insurance product covered 100% of their input costs (seed, fertilizer, and chemical), even if they chose to increase their investment per acre as the season progressed.
On top of their inputs, they chose to insure $150/acre of their gross margin. They know their numbers, and with their fixed costs running at an efficient $190/acre, they were confident that with their full-coverage policy they’d never have more than $40/acre at risk – even in a disaster.
A business-focused farm, Brook Haven had diversified their income with surface lease, trucking, and custom spraying revenue. $40/acre of risk was well within the family’s comfort level and their lender’s risk tolerance. They’d start the season knowing that their long-term plan was secure before the first seed was put in the ground.
Positive early-season indicators point to a good crop.
The family started the year by switching their wheat seed to a new variety that they were hopeful would produce good results. Subsoil moisture during seeding looked good and encouraged their decision to increase fertilizer application rates in anticipation of a good response.
By mid-summer, their 10,000 acres of wheat, canola, and peas, was looking pretty darn good – so good, in fact, that Brook Haven decided to increase their fungicide application on the wheat and canola, and even on some of their peas for the first time.
Their increase in inputs increased their coverage.
In the end, the family invested an additional $25/acre in inputs over their original plans. They hoped their increased inputs would translate into $65-75/acre in additional revenue. In previous years, the decision to chase better yields by increasing inputs was a challenging one. Was the additional risk worth the potential upside?
With their full-coverage policy, it was different. Knowing they were backed by coverage that insured their additional input costs without increasing their premium, Brook Haven decided to go big knowing their investment and margin was secure.
Brook Haven decided to farm for maximum profit.
Their decision to increase their inputs increased their coverage with no increase in premium or level of risk.
Just as things were looking good, disaster strikes.
A projected $3.8 million crop is reduced to just $2.25 million in weeks. Global Ag Risk was there for Brook Haven Farms.
Late summer brought heat blast, hail and heavy rains. Yields and quality plummeted. Then, to add insult to injury, early fall brought snow. While by no means a total loss, a goal of $3.8 million in revenue had shrivelled to just $2.25 million.
This was the kind of season that had the potential to completely derail Brook Haven Farms' long-term plans, and put the future of their farm at risk. But it didn't. Because their full coverage Production Cost Insurance resulted in a $1.0 million insurance claim that kept their plan completely on-track and had them in a solid position for the year ahead.
But it didn’t. Because their full coverage Production Cost Insurance resulted in a $1.0 million insurance claim that kept their plan completely on-track and had them in a solid position for the year ahead.
Total gross margin coverage
Actual gross margin: