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Tracking Farming Losses Online

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- A federal agency which tracks crop insurance says there was a lot of confusion among farmers over filing claims last year. Today, the Natural Resources Defense Council launched a new web tool to help communities better understand the challenges farmers face. Something local farmers say helps people understand the perils of farming.

"We don't wait in-line for food anymore, we don't hope there's bread this week at the grocery store," said the President of the Linn County Corn and Soybean Growers Association John Airy.

But certainty at the grocery store is often based on uncertainty on the farm.

Wet years, dry years. Good years, bad years.

The bad years are offset with crop insurance. Just like car insurance, farmers pay an annual premium hoping they never have to use it. Last year, they did.

Johnson County farmers alone received $18 million in insurance payouts.

"On its face it does look like a lot of money it does look like a lot of money, 17 million dollars is a lot of money, said Airy. But you have to think about how capital intensive agriculture is."

Trying to explain the farmers problems is an unexpected ally: an environmental group. The Natural Resources Defense Council is using information from the Department of Agriculture that shows that money goes where.

"The point of putting it on there is so that people can really understand the scale of suffering that farmers are experiencing in their community, said the Natural Resources Defense Councils Claire OConnor.

In Linn County, you can see farmers received $30 million in insurance payouts, but also what they planted and what they lost. Thats nearly $50 Million in just two Corridor counties. Its money that helps keep farmers heads above water in tough times.

"Crop insurance doesn't make you whole on a loss, itll help with a portion of it, said Airy.

If you want to see how crop payments were distributed in Iowa, click this link.
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