At Farm Bill listening sessions in Indiana and around the country, crop insurance is being promoted by farmers as their top priority in a new Farm Bill. However, there remains considerable opposition in Congress. The Trump administration has proposed cuts in funding for crop insurance and many non-farm-state lawmakers also have spoken out against crop insurance. Jason Alexander, with Farm Credit Mid-America, says proposed changes in crop insurance will impact everyone in agriculture, “It will impact everyone. It will affect everyone — large farmers, small farmers, organic farmers, produce farmers, corn, soybeans, and wheat farmers.” He added that what has been proposed will change the risk pool and that will increase rates for everyone.
Alexander points out that the one group that will be hit the hardest is young farmers, “Who have no margin for error. Can they afford those levels of coverage so they can come to us to barrow the money to put a crop in the ground?” Randy Kron, President of Indiana Farm Bureau, told HAT the proposed cuts in crop insurance would make it almost impossible for beginning farmers to take over existing farming operations.
Some have suggested limiting who can qualify for crop insurance, while others have proposed limiting the number of payments a farmer can receive. Alexander says any of these changes will weaken the system and raise the rates. Some critics claim that the insurance companies are getting rich off the government subsidies, but Alexander says that is simply not true, “These companies are not making much money and, in most years, are in the red.” He said further cuts would force them to increase rates or get out of the business altogether. The level of compensation these companies receive was cut in the 2008 Farm Bill and again in 2011 legislation.
Alexander urges producers to get vocal and share how crop insurance benefits their operations, “Tell them how risky farming is and how you use crop insurance.”