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Family farms are struggling with two hidden challenges: health insurance and child care

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Family farms are struggling with two hidden challenges: health insurance and child care

Photo caption: The costs of health insurance and child care can make it difficult for young farmers to start and expand their farms. Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images. Article by Shoshanah Inwood, Andrea Rissing and Florence Becot. The Conversation – May 11, 2021.

Kat Becker feeds hundreds of people with the vegetables she grows on her Wisconsin farm, and she wants to expand. But her ability to grow her business collides with her need for affordable health insurance and child care.

She has had to make difficult choices over the years: keep her farm income low enough so her children can qualify for the state’s public health insurance, or expand the farm and buy expensive private insurance. To look after her three young children, she could hire a cheap but inexperienced babysitter, or spend a significant share of her income on child care and have peace of mind that the kids are safe from dangers on the farm.

“The stable choice for my children to have health insurance is an irrational choice for my farm business,” she said. […]

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