Somehow, the last two weeks of February felt like we had a painted bullseye on our door. The farm insurance issue still isn’t resolved. Our new policy was all set to replace our existing policy, which is woefully insufficient, when that policy was due to renew on March 11th. The insurance company had already sent the letter of declaration to the mortgage company to not renew the old policy in favor of this new one. But then the new insurance policy’s underwriter (who first approved this back in December 2015), apparently went out to look at our website and went into conniptions because he thought he saw evidence that we were doing a lot of things we hadn’t reported. So at the last minute, he yanked our policy. That was about two weeks ago. So for the last two weeks we’ve been working with the agent and underwriter to clarify what farming operations we ARE involved with, what we are NOT involved with, what we need coverage on, etc etc. Which in my mind should have been taken care of in December. I have been alternately infuriated that this all came up at the last minute, and mortified that we might have to cease operations in whole or in part because insurance won’t issue coverage. We submitted a new write-up of our entire yearly farm operations, with clarifications for how our website (as information source) differs from our on-the-ground operations (which is what we wanted covered). Now we’re waiting in pins and needles to hear back from this underwriter. Who by his comments has very likely never set foot on a working farm and thus is making his decisions without any working experience whatsoever. Nothing builds confidence like the knowledge that the busdriver is blind. If the underwriter is satisfied, we still have one more obstacle – he wants a site inspection to verify that what we WROTE is actually what we HAVE (nothing like being called a potential liar). Getting ready for that inspection will be its own project, because we have to either hurry up some farm operations to have them completed early, or we have to hold off and not start until after the inspection is done. If on the other hand he turns down our write-up, then we have to start all over with some other agency. With one insurance policy having just been declined, that just raises the bar on the next one.
In addition to that, we got word that new regulations on both the federal and state levels was going to impact our operations, either directly or indirectly. We ended up attending a lot of meetings the last two weeks to hear the details of those regulations. A lot of those details went something like “you’ll definitely need to comply, by such-and-such date (this year), but we don’t know the details yet and we don’t know when we’ll know. But you need to be in compliance anyway.” It was ludicrous. So even if we get coverage, we’re not sure yet how certain regulations are going to play out. One thing we did learn – one of our options for logging our land is now officially off the table, because the regulatory hoops for getting that option approved have just crossed the “too much hassle” boundary. So we’re reconsidering our options there.
I actually sort of hit bottom in terms of energy-and-optimism over the weekend, and wrestled with thoughts of “why do we keep trying?” Why even bother?” Doesn’t help that the feed store called out of the blue and asked me to work there, at $10/hr to start, but with the promise of raises because I’m a “subject matter expert” and I have more initiative than the kids filling out applications. I actually thought about it awhile, but we would essentially have had to shutter our operations. We just aren’t willing to do that. But we had to have some uncomfortable “what if” conversations to determine that no, we’re not ready to throw in the towel. That makes for a lot of mental and emotional wear and tear.
So this morning I woke up in a mood to grab the bull by the horns and do whatever it took to hang on for the ride. Not optimistic, per se, but perhaps “committed” would be the better word. We’ll do whatever it takes to hang in there and stay in business, whatever rules or insurance crap is thrown at us. Because we just couldn’t stomach the alternative. So that was my week.