At least two major farm groups now say the deal isn’t a done deal. That’s a reference to the deal claimed by House and Senate ag leaders to reverse crop insurance cuts made in the just-passed budget. It’s the kind of deal where you shake hands and say you’re going to do something, but getting it done is another matter.
And Chandler Goule at the National Farmers Union says that’s the position of Senate leaders after House Ag leaders claimed there is a deal to reverse the cuts.
“We also saw a message from minority leader Reid saying he had no intention of using the omnibus to fix the crop insurance, but then immediately after that you saw chairman Roberts and ranking member Stabenow and then a member of the committee, Senator Heitkamp from North Dakota saying that they would work to restore this money but not say specifically in what manner it would be fixed.”
It will take $3 billion to ‘fix’ the crop insurance cuts in a budget deal negotiated by outgoing House Speaker John Boehner that ‘clears the deck’ for new House Speaker Paul Ryan. Ryan is also a critic of farm subsidies.
American Farm Bureau executive director Dale Moore said earlier that new savings must be found that don’t cut essential risk management tools and don’t reopen the farm bill. Goule says how that’s done and where those savings come from is still unsettled.
“So this discussion is not over. I don’t think crop insurance is out of the woods yet. we have an assurance from the House but we don’t know where the money is actually coming from, and I think the Senate has agreed to work on the issue but they have not agreed on how to come up with the additional 3 billion.”
That’s a far cry from House and Senate press release claims that the issue of crop insurance cuts has been settled. The cut to the crop insurance subsidy is in the current budget legislation, but leaders have said they will restore the $3 billion when the upcoming omnibus spending bill is finalized. That is expected in early December. President Obama signed the budget agreement Monday.
At least one farm state lawmaker is pleased with the new federal budget provision that reduces crop insurance subsidies to insurance companies. Wisconsin 3rd District Congressman Ron Kind says the bill reduces the profit margin for crop insurance companies from 14 to 9 percent and he believes family farmers will not be adversely affected by the subsidy reduction and the crop insurance industry will continue to be “alive and well.”