Saturday, October 23, 2010

Money Wasted

I woke up this morning thinking about all the money I wasted this year. I know, you could call these investments or security or protection or investments that never paid. Yes, kind of like the stock market.

Our truck and camper is sitting on the banks of the Mississippi and that is not money wasted. I have enjoyed every penny and every minute of it.

The first money waster was crop insurance. I got to thinking of the tens of thousands of dollars I have sent crop insurance companies with no return on the investment. Now I know many farmers consider crop insurance a smart place to invest in your crop with so much at risk. But in 47 years of farming I have never really needed it. Oh, I had a couple of minor claims but they didn't help me out or save me. I had GRIP crop insurance pay off two times but to me that wasn't a good investment. Am I just good enough or lucky enough to not need crop insurance?

The second one was poor marketing or money that was never earned because of my poor marketing decisions. I wonder how the hedging farmers made out? Some of them live by the markets and spend more time in marketing than I do raising the whole crop. They stood to make some big money this year with the huge market swings. I could have easily earned a lot more money this year but was not willing to pay the fees.

The third is poor services and gouging the market. One field of corn was the worst I have had because the company did not do what I told them to do. They used a certain driver who has damaged every crop he has been in for me and they used a heavy machine to apply the chemicals I told them not to use. Where the wheels went the corn died and the grass took over. The booms are not very wide on that machine either. This really burns me. I paid top price for very poor quality service and they won't take any blame for it.

They always charge a little bit more than anyone else but the big problem is every time I have bought something there, the bill is always higher than what they quoted me. "Oh, the price went up", they say. This is poor business but there are only three suppliers to deal with and they all act a lot alike.

Another one is people who think your land is theirs. They throw out trash, start wild fires, run 4 wheelers through your property and always want to hunt there without anyone else being allowed to. Respect of property rights has really went down hill in this country.

I am happy to share my meager holdings with others but there aren't many people out there who would even ask to use your property if they the kind of people you would want there.

OK, I am done venting. I will bite my tongue and just let it all become a part of the past. It's expensive getting "older and wiser.!"

Did I get up on the wrong side of the bed?

Ed Winkle


  1. Your mistake may have been getting out of bed at all, Ed! If hedging crops is anything like playing the stock market, it's probably best avoided by an honest man. I thought of putting a little money in the stock market a few years ago, but discovered that the best money was to be made using other people's money to buy and sell stocks that you never really owned at any point. That didn't seem like something the Lord would condone.

    As for folks having no respect for property rights, anymore, I think that's part of America's entitlement mentality.

  2. You have been reading the lazy farmer again haven't you?
    We have used our crop insurance a couple times but we farm river bottom ground so all our eggs are in one basket-so to speak.
    Sprayer complaints are universal. If you can't do it yourself yo are at the mercy of someone who will eventually screw it up.
    And the this land is your land this land is my land crowd drives us all up the wall!

  3. You both got me pegged. Why are people so mean and why is the farmer so easily picked on? I mean I have come a long way in many ways but I am still naive when it comes to letting the other guy get the best of me. If this is a ticket to heaven, I will take it.

  4. Wow, I would never farm without crop insurance again Ed. If the choice was between buying P,K and N and crop insurance, the crop insurance would win every time. You need a good crop insurance agent who can maybe fit coverage to your yields better. We have only got a "return" twice. I dont ever want to get a return on crop insurance,,,,,like getting a return on your home fire insurance. Better to pay and never use than to hope you collect.

  5. I probably won't either Kelly but it sure makes me think. It has never paid off for me. I have to carry auto insurance and home insurance and farm insurance but crop insurance has not been a good investment for me.