Agriculture has certainly favored crop insurance as the risk management tool of choice in recent years. Congress has seemed to favor the program too, arguing that tax payers are saving money by investing in crop insurance over extremely costly government disaster assistance in years like 2012. But will the crop insurance you purchase for 2013 actually be available in 2014?
Groups like the Environmental Working Group are lobbying right now for crop insurance reform in the new farm bill. Their motive is simply to cut funding to the crop insurance program, freeing up money for their own conservation programs, and lessoning the effectiveness of your risk management programs in the process.
The drought this year hasn’t made our fight any easier. Because the crop insurance program will pay large indemnities on your 2012, the exact purpose for which the program was designed, higher visibility will make the program a larger target for cuts.
Never mind that for the 15 companies selling crop insurance, such as Wells Fargo, QBE, ACE, American Financial Group, and others, 2012 is the first time in a decade that crop insurance is a money-loser. And after the large payout this year, your premiums will change in coming years, allowing companies to recoup their losses.
Yes, never mind that the program is actually working exactly as it was designed to work, eliminating the disaster aid bills that cost the federal government $45 billion between 1989 and 2001 and offering affordable, abundant food for the U.S. public.
You will still have to call your Congressman to defend the program.
House Republicans are on record in favor of insurance cuts, but did not include them in the farm bill passed through the House Ag Committee. Cuts are not included in the Senate bill either. You need to give your elected officials a reason to stand firm in their decision to leave your risk management program intact.
Congressmen and Senators are in Illinois through the election. If you see your Congressman or Senators, you must ask them to support crop insurance and pass a Farm Bill in 2012.
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