5 Takeaways from a Farm & Ranch Agent

Hey, y’all! I’m Annelise Carpenter, an OKFB Insurance agent in Comanche County. My journey to OKFB started when I traveled from my hometown in Decatur, Texas to the great plains of Oklahoma for volleyball. As a student-athlete visiting Oklahoma, I was fascinated with the landscape and all things agriculture. It’s what led me to get my degree in Agriculture Business and make my home in beautiful Southwest Oklahoma.

Now, I have the pleasure of farming and ranching barley and wheat, as well as running commercial cow/calf, stockers, and purebred registered Beefmasters. I take immense pride in working with other local farmers and ranchers to make sure they’re covered and protected.

I have learned a lot from my experience as a farmer and as an insurance agent. Here are five of my main takeaways on Farm & Ranch Insurance now that I’ve been in the business for more than six years! 

1. Work With a Local Insurance Agent

You are the expert! I know that a large number of the customers I work with are generational farmers and they’ve been doing this for a while. Also, farming and ranching is different in every part of the country, and even in the great state of Oklahoma. As a result, non-local insurance companies could have a hard time understanding your specific needs, and may not understand the landscape quite as well. That’s why working with a local agent can be very beneficial.

2. Be Sure to Get Enough Insurance

One thing I’ve noticed is that many farmers and ranchers are underinsured and don’t have everything covered. It’s important to get insurance for your working vehicles, like ATVs, tractors, trucks, etc. If a tornado rolls through and destroys your crops, livestock or machinery, you want to make sure you can recoup your losses and be ready to go for the next farming or ranching season.

3. Meet With Your Agent Often

As an agent myself, thankfully I don’t have to worry about this. But it’s important to take time to meet with your agent to talk through your policy, discuss any updates needed to your farm or ranch, and any future plans you might have. For instance, if you’re expanding, buying land, or adding vehicles, you’ll want to make sure those get added to your policy.

4. Create a Farm Inventory and Share it With Your Agent

Similar to a home inventory, a farm inventory is a detailed list of everything you own on your farm, including tools, equipment, vehicles, machinery, and livestock. Use this list to cross-check that everything is covered in your policy. The list should include a description of each item, serial number, date of purchase, and estimated value. I’ve personally done this and can tell you it will take some time. However, it is so good to have on hand and has helped me and my policyholders multiple times.

5. Prepare for Emergencies

Although we hate to see it, emergencies on a farm can happen. It’s important for you to prepare an emergency response plan and to share it with any ranch hands, employees and family members. Your farm is your livelihood, but ultimately it’s important for you to find safety in the event of an emergency. Don’t worry, with OKFB Insurance your assets can be covered.

All in all, these are just a handful of key takeaways from my past six years of experience with insuring farms and ranches, just like yours. At OKFB, we’re dedicated to making sure you and your livelihood are protected. Reach out to me or another local agent if you have any questions or need to review your Farm and Ranch Insurance policy. 

Thanks for reading!

-Annelise

Top Farm Apps & Podcasts

Looking for ways to learn more about new trends or farming and ranching methods? Apps and podcasts are great resources! As technology evolves in the agriculture industry and regulations constantly change, farm apps and podcasts are available and they share and discuss the latest information. Check out these top agriculture apps and podcasts that you could add to your routine!

AgriSync App

There’s a lot to focus on when managing a farm or ranch. Time is critical, and the AgriSync app could help you save time, especially when dealing with a broken piece of equipment. This app is a customer service platform specifically for ag-businesses and equipment dealers. To explain, if an issue arises with your equipment or machinery, the app can connect you with advisors that will provide support and solutions quickly. Also, farmers can use the AgriSync app for free.

Yara CheckIT App

As you know, it’s important to pay close attention to your crops as they grow to ensure they are healthy and profitable. The Yara CheckIT app can help ensure this happens. It provides a library of crop images that can filter by symptom, location of symptom and more. This could be helpful in seeing if a crop is experiencing a nutritional deficiency. Also, The Yara CheckIt farm app will even recommend a fertilizer to treat identified deficiencies. 

AgMobile App

Farming and ranching at their core are businesses. If you want to keep an eye on grain and livestock markets, solicit bids on crops and other upcoming trends, try out AgMobile. It lays out commodity news, weather, charts, local news and more. 

Oklahoma Farm Report Podcast 

Ron Hays, Director of Farm and Ranch Programming at Radio Oklahoma Ag Network, hosts three farm podcasts: Ag Perspectives with Ron Hays, Farm & Ranch News with Ron Hays and Beef Buzz with Ron Hays. New episodes are posted every two weeks. Hays shares the latest trends, his thoughts on new farm and ranch regulations and discusses other changes in the industry. 

The Ranching Brunette Podcast

Are you a first-generation farmer? The Ranching Brunette podcast focuses on providing tips and advice to aspiring farmers. Through interviews with successful farmers and ranchers in the industry, this podcast could offer the motivation and support you need as you establish yourself in the ag-business. 

The Working Ranch Radio Show Podcast

This podcast highlights stories and real-life experiences from farmers and ranchers across the country. Additionally, issues in the ag and livestock industry are discussed in-depth. If you’re looking to learn more about the industry nationwide and what issues are circulating, consider diving into this podcast.

However, if you’re looking to listen to a more local perspective, the Murray Farm and Ranch YouTube channel is a great source. They share farming and ranching tips, recipes and more. 

Along with being up to date with the latest trends and methodologies, remember to check in with your local OKFB agent. If any changes have been made to your farm or ranch, your policy may need to be updated. We’re here to keep your livelihood covered against the unexpected.

Is My Farm Underinsured?

Having the right amount of insurance coverage for your farm or ranch is critical, and it’s important to have your property, tools, equipment, and vehicles covered. To see if you have the right coverage, check out our guide to be sure and stay on top of your policy.

farmer sitting on a tractor

Conduct a Farm Inventory

Similar to a home inventory where you take note of the personal assets inside your home, a farm inventory could be beneficial in helping ensure your farm or ranch is fully insured. Additionally, this type of inventory can make filing a claim smoother; with a detailed inventory, you have all the necessary documentation compiled in one location. For example, it should at least include receipts, serial or model numbers, brand, model and year and more. 

Remember – most, if not all, reported assets should be in this inventory. A few examples are:

  • Tools
  • Equipment
  • Vehicles
  • Fertilizer spreaders
  • Irrigation equipment

Also, it can be easy to forget to update a farm inventory as systems are replaced, new equipment is bought and broken tools are thrown out and replaced. An updated inventory will ensure your farm or ranch is insured throughout the year. Try updating this inventory annually and continue to update as often as needed.

man mowing the lawn

Schedule an Insurance Check-In

Along with developing and maintaining an inventory, it is important for an insurance agent to review the farm or ranch property. In fact, you can do this review annually to help verify current values. To explain, current values are the value of the farmland, cropland value and more. It is important to ensure current values are up-to-date, so a Farm and Ranch Insurance policy has the extent of coverage needed.

Moreover, insuring your property with the right amount of coverage will let you focus on expanding and growing your operations. Protect your livelihood with these steps or contact your local OKFB agent to schedule a consultation or to talk through a farm inventory.

How to Create a Farm Transition Plan

It’s important to have a farm transition plan in place. To prepare for the unexpected, and as you consider hanging up the boots and retiring. If you’re getting ready to retire or looking to, consider these steps when getting started on a farm transition plan. 

Step 1: Consider Getting Life Insurance

Even if you don’t believe an extensive farm transition plan is necessary, consider purchasing life insurance. According to the 2020 Insurance Barometer study, 40% of people that have life insurance wish they had purchased it earlier in life. 

Life insurance can help your family in the event of the unexpected. It leaves them more equipped to take care of themselves without you providing for them. 

Step 2: Define Specific Goals for Your Transition Plan

Start discussions on how to transition assets and property over to the next generation. Remember, it’s critical to take some time to evaluate all assets and sources of income and to establish goals. To help, think about some of these questions:

  • What do my loved ones need to live if I’m not there to support them? (Consider using OKFB’s life insurance calculator to help determine the appropriate amount.) 
  • What passive income sources (rental properties or machinery, cell towers, etc.) do I have that I need to keep to sustain my family through retirement?
  • What stipulations or requirements do I have for the new manager of my property and assets? 

With these questions in mind, you can start to establish some goals for transitioning over these important assets. 

Step 3: Define Your Successor(s) in Your Farm Transition Plan

One of the most difficult topics to discuss is who will take over your farm or ranch and become the owner. Choosing the right person to take over the farm or ranch, finances and additional assets is a momentous task, but a critical one. There are many approaches that farmers and ranchers take when deciding who their successor will be and how to divide up assets. 

  • With multiple heirs, one approach is to split everything evenly between them. Another approach is determining what is fair and best for your farm or ranch.
  • When considering the division of multiple types of assets i.e., finances, income, the management of property and livestock, etc. — take some time to drop them into a will or other legal document that specifically outlines the details. 

Step 4: Strategically Assemble Your Farm Transition Plan

Now that goals have been established, along with who is taking over the finances, responsibilities and the assets, it’s time to start thinking strategically about how to transition these assets. There are many ways, but the two most common are giving the assets as gifts or transferring them through a will. 

With either approach, think about consulting with legal, tax and insurance professionals. Whether transferring assets through a will, by gifting, or through some other means, it’s important to understand the potential benefits and drawbacks of each approach. 

Planning to transition your life’s work can feel like a daunting task. At Oklahoma Farm Bureau Insurance, our agents are here to help you navigate all the intricacies. Consult with your local OKFB Insurance Agent to help you create a farm transition plan.