Bindel Farms

  (Spencer, Ohio)
Life on our farm
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Puzzled about Health Insurance and farming.

The start of the new year has brought a clean slate to our farm but it also brought  higher health insurance premiums for us which are as high as 25% more this year.  Ouch!

Even though both my wife and I currently work outside farm jobs, neither of us are lucky enough to get health insurance offered and paid through our current employers which of course completely sucks! (We are lucky to even have jobs!) This means that we are stuck with paying these high out of pocket expenses which can account for at least 20% of our pay that goes to paying these outrageous premiums so that when either one of us does get seriously ill where we will need to be hospitalized, we will not be up you know what creek without a paddle in debt. 

My personal experience with these health insurance companies and their premium has never been a good one and has left me think that unless you have a catastrophic event such as cancer, surgery, or a heart attack, you just get screwed by the insurance company in the end. 

Last month, I needed to go to the doctor's office for a bad internal hand infection that I could not clear up on my own at home without a prescription of antibiotics and needless to say that by the time I got done paying the co-pay and the rest of the cost that was not covered under the 80-20% plan I have, I would have been better off pocketing the premiums for all those years that I pay each month and paying the medical bill out of pocket.  It equaled the same cost as without insurance!  Go figure! 

Keep in mind that I am the type of person that only goes in to a doctor's office or the hospital when something is seriously wrong with me that I can't cure or fix myself.  I have been known to superglue and butterfly cuts with excellent results I might add when in fact  I should have gone to the hospital and had them professionally stitched by a plastic surgeon. 

This got me thinking that if we wanted to live solely on our farm business as a sole income like I have plans to in the future, we will have to work that much harder to come up with these premiums which can run $6,000-$12,000 a year depending on if you have a maternity plan or a family plan. That is a lot of money to come up with each month with our current jobs let alone have to raise it on just a farm income.  This means that I have to sell that much reach this threshold before I even start thinking about paying for other important bills like farm mortgage, utilities, other food costs, and of course gasoline for the tractor and cars which also seems to be going up just as fast.

Granted health insurance costs are tax deductible as write offs if the farm is run as a strict business and not as a hobby farm but still it is a lot of money to be forking over and a lot of product that must be sold to just cover health insurance premiums. 

I got thinking also about what other farmers who farm full time do about this situation.  Do they have health insurance premiums that they pay for out of pocket or are they currently doing without it. Maybe their spouse works and has the benefits the that off the farm job. 

Of course most of them are lucky enough to have land that was past down to them from past generation so they don't have to pay the ridiculous land prices of today to have the land to grow and raise their farm products.

What do you think? Have any opinions about this, please post them and let me know your thoughts.

I know other small farmers out there has to be in the same situation.


My frustration with land prices!

Since I was a young kid, I always wanted to own land.  I even owned geese on a city lot when I was a kid.  As I got older, I grew a passion for farming and raising healthy and better tasting foods without chemical fertilizers, herbicides, hormones and antibiotic which were not available in the grocery store. 

I had a real passion for farming and that drove me to buy a farm!!! 

One thing that frustrates me and others around my age is the price of land! It seams to me that my generation is having a real hard time finding "affordable and reasonably" priced land to buy for farming.  Every piece of property around my area goes for at least $10,000-$20,000 per acre and makes it real hard if not impossible to farm full time without a second off the farm full time job to pay for the farm mortgage.

When I was shopping for a farm back in 2004-2005, I came across a lot of great properties that I would have loved to buy but unfortunately lack of money stood in my way.  It seamed to me that you needed to be a corporate executive  to even have any chance of owning a farm with 35-100 acres. Hence I had to settle for a smaller property which had great land but unfortunately did not have a barn on the property.  The way I looked at it, most people buy starter houses, I bought a starter farm!

My ideal farm would be about 35-50 acres or maybe 100 acres with a house that is in good condition and well taken care of and a large bank barn and other out building to go along with it. But unfortunately in my part of the country where I live, this is a dream! That property is at least $350,000 to $1,000,000 which is completely out of my affordable price range.  To even think of affording something like that would require multiple high paying jobs, a very large down payment, and a willing bank lender to give you a farm mortgage.

Suburban sprawl in my area has a lot to do with the problem of land prices.  Developers come in and offer older, going to be retiring conventional farmers money that they can't refuse since they did not have a retirement fund.  This in turn send the price of land through the roof because it is divided into smaller parcels and sold for housing development and commercial shopping malls which in turn makes land around there more expensive!

I am amazed at the lack of large properties that is available to purchase!

Don't get me wrong, where my farm is located is practically the middle of no where!!  The nearest grocery store and gas station is 10 miles one way!! But unfortunately most farmers in my area keep the land in the family or auction it off into smaller parcels of land.

Most of the properties that I see listed is for only about 5 acres or less!!!

Today even with the housing market crash, I still see the price of land has not come down.  In fact, it has gone up! A lot of this I believe has to do with growing corn for fuel.

Will there be a time in the future when young farmers won't be able to afford to buy land?

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