2011 was a brutal year for farmers and ranchers in the southern Plains. Data from weather stations shows an amazingly dry year, only moderated in the last three months by rain and snow but overall devastating to cattle herds and crops. It is in a year like this that a real safety net is needed. It is a time when a business has to share its risk with others or it fails. The losses are never totally mitigated but the ability to survive and try again can’t be overstated.