At some point, every growing farm business owner or operator sits down at the table and begins asking these questions: when does your business need crop insurance? Can I afford crop insurance?

Here are some reasons why you should consider having some sort of crop insurance policy in place to protect you.

Get insured if farming is a large part of your income.

Some people keep the “back 40” in the family as part of a tradition or a hobby. In that case, you probably don’t need (or want) crop insurance. But, if you insist on making farming of some sort a substantial part of your income, you will probably want to be insured.

Even the biggest livestock, row crop, or dairy operations can operate on razor-thin margins. A brush with sickness, high pest numbers that year, or even just an operation accident — whether on the corporate or the family farm — can mean the difference between finishing the year in the black or finishing in the red.

The right coverage options, however, can make sure you stay in the black.

Get insured if you’re vulnerable to floods, wind, or hail.

That’s certainly not a comprehensive list of all the natural disasters you could face as a farmer. Having insurance in tornado alley, the flood plain, increasingly fire-prone areas, or other disaster-vulnerable regions can draw the line between treading water year to year or putting food (for both your family and your customers) on the table.

As farmers around the country report increasingly unpredictable climate and weather patterns, the most vulnerable areas should absolutely consider insurance — especially with some patterns predicted to worsen.

In some areas, crop insurance may in fact be foundational to your enterprise’s survival owing to the possibility of weather events there. Be sure to look into a policy that covers natural disasters, even more, important if you’ve experienced losses from more than one already. ether on the corporate or the family farm — can mean the difference between finishing the year in the black or finishing in the red.

The right coverage options, however, can make sure you stay in the black.

Get insured if pests, predation, or disease are a problem.

From the smallest microbe to the largest predator, farmers are constantly working against all the forces of nature. If your operation borders or is otherwise exposed to wildlife hungry for a taste of your product, an insurance plan can help protect you from the losses caused by this expected yet pesky (and pesty) part of the agricultural business.

While some policies may not directly cover or compensate for the loss of livestock (calves, pullets, lambs, etc.), the product you derive from your livestock can be protected. That way predation losses won’t hit you or your business so hard.

For row crop growers, any loss of crop from pest or disease — even the occasional hungry deer or, worse, pest swarm — can be compensated for.

Even if you’re organic, specialty, or a “micro-farm” – you can still get insured.

If anything, small specialty and organic growers can be even more vulnerable to the above risks than the “average” or “typical” large or conventional farm business. Even with higher premiums, organic growers and ranchers face greater challenges against the elements, volatile markets, pests, and disease than their conventional counterparts owing to the methods they use. In many cases, these businesses deal with even tighter profit margins as well.

It’s a big myth that small farmers and specialty growers can’t get crop insurance, or that it’s not a worthwhile investment for them. It is. Many specialty products — diverse vegetables, CSA’s, heritage breed livestock, hemp, specialty fruits, and beyond — can easily have a crop insurance coverage policy that protects them from losses that could endanger their businesses.

Can I afford crop insurance?

We get it: the overhead adds up quickly when you’re running an agricultural business. The thought of another bill or payment, stacked up against thin profit margins, can make even the most financially meticulous farmer’s head spin. “Can I really afford another expense or payment? Will I need it in the end?”

Crop insurance is the mainstay it is in agribusiness for a good reason. Insurance companies are not just invested in the success of farmers financially for the well-being of their families, health, and livelihood; they’re also invested in the vital role farmers play in the economy. Insurance companies all over the country pay out farmers their losses in the billions of dollars every year. Let’s just say: we’re invested in farmers!

Farmers grow food and bring crucial commodities to the table, keeping their communities and other parts of the country clothed, fed, and nourished. Any loss to the farmer means a loss to the economy and the community. It could mean a less stable commodity or food system!

While you may not think you can afford crop insurance payments, nobody can afford to lose the farm. Even if you’ve managed to run your farm business without facing major risks or losses like natural disasters, pests, or volatile markets, that moment could be right around the corner— and for many farmers, it’s when that blindsiding moment hits that makes them grateful for coverage…or pushes them to seek it after as soon as they can.

These moments — never expected, but sometimes inevitable — can be the ones that make or break the future of an enterprise, which for some is the entire family legacy. If you’re concerned about crop insurance payments being costly, chatting with a specialized crop insurance agent can allay your fears. It’ll give you the information you need on policies perfect for your business, and completely affordable to you in the present —while being completely worth it for you further down the line, if anything were to happen.