Clear Springs Farms produces, packages, markets and distributes blueberries, strawberries and grape tomatoes.
Located in Bartow, Florida, Clear Springs consists of 400 acres of conventional blueberries, 150 acres of strawberries and 20 acres of organic blueberries.
Clear Springs Farms is the largest contiguous acreage in the state of Florida, producing somewhere between 1.8 and 2.3 million pounds of fruit each year, depending on the whims of the weather.
They are also a completely vertically integrated agricultural company. Meaning that after they harvest their product, Clear Springs then packs it, cold stores it, ships it and sells it. They also contract with outside growers for both blueberries and strawberries, berries they then market and sell under the Clear Springs label.
For Patrick Carroll, who serves as Vice President of Clear Springs Farms, one of the most important aspects of managing a farm is mitigating risk. Finding the proper insurance policies was a big concern.
Clear Springs Farms have been customers of Farm Credit of Central Florida for more than fifteen years. “We've been working with Clear Springs over the last four or five years specifically on crop insurance,” said Regina Thomas, who serves as the director of financial related services at Farm Credit of Central Florida, and works with Patrick and Jack on their crop insurance coverage.
“Our previous policy was just a catastrophic blueberry policy with limited coverage,” said Jack Green who serves as blueberry manager for Clear Springs. “That’s when we switched to a whole farm policy.”
The whole farm revenue policy uses a five-year average of history of actual revenue from the farm to ensure a farm’s revenue, as opposed to insuring each individual crop separately. “If the revenue is a hundred thousand dollars a year and a farmer has a 75 percent policy, we can do a revenue guarantee of $75,000,” Regina explained.
Reflecting on their decision to switch crop insurance programs, Jack said, “We're really lucky to have this insurance. It takes our real averages and our real returns and gives us something we can hang our hat on, and know that we will be able to farm another day.”
A reliable partner
Over the fifteen years they have worked with Farm Credit, Jack has appreciated the specialized knowledge that his partners at Farm Credit have had about the agriculture industry. “Farm Credit does a great job of knowing what our issues could be and trying to stay in front of those issues,” he said.
For Regina, her customers feel like family. “Having that in-depth relationship with our customers and knowing about their operation helps us to create loan products, as well as crop insurance products, to help strengthen our customers' farms.”