Indiana Farm Bureau held a policy forum this week to educate members on the top issues for the new Farm Bill. IFB President Randy Kron said maintaining crop insurance is the top priority for Farm Bureau, “Our members have told us loud and clear; they want a safety net in the form of crop insurance.” He added this year is a perfect example of how weather extremes can impact a crop and how crop insurance is needed. “In addition, bankers have told us they will not be willing to loan money to young and beginning farmers without the safety net or crop insurance,” Kron said.
But Mary Kay Thatcher, with AFBF in Washington, who presented at the policy forum, told HAT it is not going to be easy to prevent changes in crop insurance considering the big budget cuts being discussed, “We could be looking at a $50 billion cut in Farm Bill funding over the next 10 years. It will be very hard to keep a safety net with those kind of cuts.” According to Thatcher, one thing that will push the Farm Bill along is the 2018 election. “But crop insurance will once again have the biggest target on its back,” she stated.
AFBF economist Bob Young told the forum that the new Farm Bill may cut government funding for crop insurance, which means farmer premiums will go up. Kron said farmers are going to have to be strong advocates in order to save crop insurance, “We must be credible advocates for effective and fair trade policies. We also need regulatory and tax reforms that increase economic growth. That’s where our staff experts and our guest speakers from AFBF help in our efforts.”