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Eric and Neal Miller

Eric and Neal Miller, Savannah

By Joann Pipkin
Jeff Rhode, Team Leader, Crop Insurance, is the Millers FCS Financial crop insurance agent.

Farming with Security

For Eric and Neal Miller, crop insurance can be summed up in one word: security.

The Savannah, Missouri, brothers farm in partnership, raising both corn and soybeans. They also have a commercial cow/calf operation and do a variety of other custom farm-related work such as bulldozing, combining and planting. 

“Our farm is a century farm that our great-grandfather started back in 1850,” Eric explains. 

When Eric first came to FCS Financial in 2010 for crop insurance needs, he was farming with his dad. 

While his father had never before used crop insurance, Eric says it became a necessity because of the amount of money required just to raise a crop. 

“Whenever we select the level of crop insurance, we’re looking at what our input costs are, how much we actually borrowed an acre to put the crop in,” Eric explains. “So, at that point, we can select the level amount we feel comfortable gambling. You wake up every day and it’s like throwing the dice. You never know what’s going to break down or what might be thrown at you.”

The security of having crop insurance helped the Millers weather through the drought of 2012 and again in 2018 when severe dry conditions were more localized to northwest Missouri. 

“We were able to keep functioning (with the crop insurance),” Eric says. “We didn’t actually turn a profit, but we were able to make (our payments) and go at it again for the next year.”

Neal, who joined his brother in the operation in 2013, says having crop insurance brings peace of mind to the table.

“I don’t see how you can afford not to have production insurance,” he says. “There’s just too much money on the table not to protect yourselves. Without, I don’t know if we’d still be in business.”

The Millers farm mostly gently rolling clay hills. It’s dryland farming with no water table under the soil. They focus on no-till, only using conventional tillage in bottom fields when necessary. They use rye as a cover crop, and cows graze cornstalks after harvest. 

Eric had previously worked with FCS Financial for equipment purchases. He liked the idea of keeping all of his operating needs in the same place. They especially appreciate the professionalism and friendliness they find in working with FCS Financial. 

"I met Jeff Rhode and like him a lot,” Eric says. “He’s been good to us and helped guide us through selections of insurance that might fit our needs.”

Neal adds that Rhode is always good to keep them informed of programs and approaching deadlines. 

At the end of the day, the Millers know crop insurance is a necessity in this day and time.

“It’s just like buying your seed,” Neal says. “You’ve got to buy your seed, you’ve got to buy your chemicals, and you’ve got to buy crop insurance.”

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