Crop Insurers, lenders, and Farm Credit officials told senators that crop insurance is the most important farm bill safety net, but it needs to be improved.
There was no mistaking the message about crop insurance from folks like William Cole, Chair of the Crop Insurance Professionals Association who said; “It’s the only viable risk-management tool that our farmers have today.”
Jason Meador of the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau added; “Crop insurance is the number one risk management tool for farmers and ranchers to be able to support, whether it’s their loans or their livelihoods, and stability of agriculture.”
But James Korin with the American Association of Crop Insurers says more support’s needed for higher coverage levels through options like ECO. Korin; “With ECO, when we went through the process, there was a statutory cap on how much subsidy or premium support the government could provide, and it would be helpful to get that increased.”
And then, there are FSA loan limits. Gus Barker for the Independent Community Bankers of America says; “They need to be adjusted upward. The price of land and inputs have just skyrocketed for us, and we’re proposing three-and-a-half million for the ownership and a three million limit on the operating line for USDA guarantees.”
Farm Credit Council’s Phillip Morgan added; “Household median income for the last five years has been about 70-thousand dollars. So, for a poultry producer, they’ve got to go in and make a 3.3 million-dollar investment to achieve the same level of median income.”
But crop insurance remains the linchpin for the next farm bill. And not just for farmers, but lenders, crop insurance agents, equipment, seed, and chemical dealers, and all of rural America.