Posted October 29, 2015
House Agriculture Committee members state there will be no cuts to the crop insurance program in the upcoming budget, according to an AgWeb article available here. High Plains Journal also published an article available here.
“Leadership has heeded our concerns by agreeing to completely reverse this disastrous provision in the upcoming omnibus,” said Michael Conaway in a prepared statement. “Crop insurance is working as intended, and private industry deserves to be lauded, not thrown under the bus.”
The budget proposal called for capping the rate of return on earned premiums at 8.9% for crop insurers for 2017-2016. It would have saved the federal government an estimated $3 billion, but potentially hurt the viability of the federal crop insurance program and the financial health of the crop insurance industry.
Agriculture Committee Chairmen Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, and Rep. K. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Members Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Michigan, and Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, stood united against reopening the 2014 farm bill to further cuts, according to High Plains Journal.
“Farmers and ranchers have done more than their fair share to reduce government spending,” said Chairman Roberts.
“To target the No. 1 priority for producers with additional cuts will undermine the delivery of this important protection for agriculture. While congressional leaders may sell this package as providing budget stability, it is anything but stable for farmers and ranchers. It took years to negotiate and pass a new farm bill. Producers have signed contracts and purchased policies. These proposals to make further cuts to the crop insurance program were not included in the House or Senate passed budgets, in any appropriations bills or in the president’s budget request. Once again, our leaders are attempting to govern by backroom deals where the devil is in the details. I will continue to oppose any attempts to cut crop insurance funding or to change crop insurance program policies.”
After the House, the spending bill goes to the Senate, where the Senate Agriculture Committee leaders have also vowed to protect the crop insurance program, according to AgWeb.
“We hope Senate Leadership finds a path forward soon to ensure these cuts are not realized,” said the Crop Insurance Reinsurance Bureau, National Crop Insurance Service and American Association of Crop Insurers said in a joint statement.
“Today’s action shows that crop insurance is truly the centerpiece of agricultural risk management and rural America is willing to fight to maintain the crop insurance program. Crop insurers remain committed to providing superior service to our customers–America’s farmers–who desperately need risk management tools to deal with today’s extreme weather and falling crop prices.”
For more information on crop insurance programs, please visit the National Agricultural Law Center’s website here.