When her husband Mike passed away in 2020, Jolene Palmer was faced with the task of harvesting the Fairfax, Minnesota, farm family’s corn crop — but she wasn’t alone.
Neighboring farmers eagerly volunteered their time and equipment — 58 people, 12 combines, 12 grain carts and 28 semis, to be exact — to help her get the crop in the bin.
“In a total of 15 hours, they harvested 1,100 acres. It really was a true effort,” Palmer said. “It went so smoothly. It was just a huge accomplishment and it really made everybody feel good.”
Farmers are well known for helping each other in times of need. Lending equipment or a helping hand to neighbors often takes place without a second thought. But like anything in farming, it’s crucial to do proper planning — weighing any safety, liability and insurance considerations.
Before lending farm equipment, consider this scenario
Say your neighbor rolls over your lent tractor, which is one of the most common accidents in farming. Could you be liable for injuries? Will damages to the tractor be covered under your insurance policy?
Ask these questions before lending equipment
Nationwide’s AVP of Risk Management, Jason Berkland, recommends farmers stop and ask themselves three important questions before lending equipment to assist neighbors, including:
Does my policy extend coverage for rented or lent equipment?
Before donating equipment or machinery to help out, confirm any coverage for that equipment with your farm insurance agent.
Is the piece of equipment in good working order?
Make sure any machinery or equipment you are lending is well-maintained. That includes having all safety equipment like guards or locks installed and in working order. For additional information on mobile equipment safety, consider our mobile equipment safety training program.
Does the person borrowing the equipment have the experience and ability to run the equipment safely?
Confirm who will be operating the equipment and that they have the necessary experience. Also conduct a walkaround together to point out safety features, worn parts and areas to watch while using the equipment.
Help your neighbors with confidence
As the #1 farm insurer in the U.S.1, Nationwide has been helping farmers in need for nearly a century — so we get it. We just want to make sure that when farmers help other farmers, safeguards are in place to help protect those involved.
Contact your local Nationwide Farm Certified agent to learn more about the risks of lending farm equipment and to confirm you have the proper coverage. This way, you can be confident in helping your neighbors.
Farmers Helping Farmers video series
Nationwide created the Farmers Helping Farmers video series to spotlight the Palmer family story and the safety and risk management best practices to make sure these good deeds don’t turn into headaches or worse.