Jolene Palmer lost Mike to lymphoma in July 2020. The couple had made plans for how their Minnesota farm would harvest the crops in the six weeks prior to his death. Fields would be harvested in the same way as they had always been, using their own equipment and working with a farmer who had previously helped them.
“People in the community kept calling saying they wanted to help,” Palmer recalls. “And the farmer who was helping me said, ‘Just let them help.’ It was the avenue we went down, because they said we could get harvest done in two days instead of two weeks.”
She made a list of people who called and asked them to send their equipment. Some people didn’t have any equipment, but offered to drive it if they had. She met with three farmers and discussed where the equipment would go and who would run it. Palmer met with some volunteers she hadn’t met before and gave them assignments.
“It was an incredible day. We had 12 combines, 12 grain carts, 28 semis, and 58 people to harvest 1,100 acres of corn,” Palmer says. “One of the things we talked about that morning was that while we had a job to do, everyone should take their time, have fun doing it, and do it safely.”
It’s no secret farmers like to help one another in times of need. When lending equipment or helping a neighbor, it’s also critical farmers take a moment to consider safety as well as liability in case something does go wrong.
Ensure safe lending
If you lend or use equipment that doesn’t belong to you, there are three important questions you should ask.
- Does my policy cover equipment rented, lent, or given to a neighbor?
- Is the person borrowing the equipment familiar with safety features and how to use them? Are they aware of the potential risks?
- Who will be the one using the equipment?
“Before agreeing to lend equipment, the best route to go down is to speak to your agent about coverage,” says Emily Berrier, Farm Underwriting and Sales leader with Nationwide Insurance. “Think through the implications of how that piece of equipment is going to be used and the safety-related questions you should be asking.”
Berrier says that when it comes to determining who is liable for a piece of borrowed or lent equipment—the owner of the equipment or the borrower—the waters get murky. It’s also one of the reasons why it is important to not only think things through before lending, but to have comprehensive coverage.
Because every farm and year is different, it is best to work with a farm agent to ensure your operation is properly covered, especially during times when you might be able to help.
“Whether it’s a large operation or a small operation, each one is unique,” says Berrier. “Our whole goal at Nationwide is making sure we’re protecting the farmer. The best way to do that is to work with an agent that has expertise.”
Source: Successful Farming