Farmers have relied on crop insurance this year to preserve their family farms during the worst drought the nation has seen in 80 years. Will crop insurance be there to help them stay afloat in the future?
The drought has brought the Federal crop insurance program into the limelight as farmers receive indemnities for their crop failures resulting from the lack of rain. Media outlets have covered crop insurance as a savior for today’s family farmer, as a payout making farmers into overnight millionaires, and everything in between. The truth of the matter is, the higher visibility of the crop insurance program could spell disaster if Farm Bill negotiations get pushed into 2013.
It’s no secret that if Congress doesn’t pass a Farm Bill in 2012, the cuts to farmer programs become more severe. This doesn’t bode well with farmers who feel that they have already offered up cuts, making the Farm Bill federal budget friendly, and will fight against deeper cuts. That crop insurance is now on the tips of tongues in Washington could mean that Congress knows just where to look for more cuts if negotiations are pushed to 2013.
Also against farmers in the crop insurance debate is the fact that more crop insurance payments on the 2012 crop will make the new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score higher in 2013. When the program looks more expensive, it is essentially waving a red flag that members of Congress won’t ignore.
Take a look at the pie chart below. Excepting the food stamps line item, if Congress is looking to cut funding to reduce the total cost impact of the bill, crop insurance sort of jumps out at you as the logical place to cut, doesn’t it?
Farmers must have a Farm Bill before the end of 2012 or your programs start to disappear. If you believe in crop insurance as a vital and necessary risk management tool, Congress must hear you say so. Call your elected officials today to tell them that they must earn your vote with a vote of their own.
Farmers need a Farm Bill Now!