Over the last several years as the future face of U.S. farm policy has been debated, crop insurance has emerged as the best and most cost-effective risk management tool for farmers, ranchers and taxpayers. The debate over crop insurance, however, has not been confined to the halls of Congress. It has happened on the airwaves, in the newspapers, in academia and on tractors in the fields.
As a public-private partnership, crop insurance is a new hybrid risk management tool whereby farmers purchase policies that are partially discounted by the federal government. As Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow pointed out during the recent Farm Bill debate, when a farmer signs up for crop insurance, “the farmer gets a bill, not a check.” And many, many others have voiced their opinions too:
- “Crop insurance payments made a huge difference for many farmers that suffered drought losses. U.S. crop insurance is easy and a comprehensive marketing tool that protects against yield losses and price declines. The program works.” — William Edwards, an agricultural economist at Iowa State University, Bloomberg News, January 15, 2013
- “Over the last 15 years, crop insurance is where we have been trying to help move farmers in terms of taking advantage of risk management tools for their crops. It is still the central focus of where we think farmers ought to be able to have easy access to insure their crops and insure some type of revenue out of it. It makes the most sense to me and always has.” — Congressman John Boehner, Agri-Pulse interview, March 4, 2013
- “After two years without rain, Kansas producers are dealing with a severe drought. It is critical that risk management tools like crop insurance are in place to make certain the United States remains the most food-secure country in the world. Crop insurance is an example of a public-private partnership that uses taxpayers’ dollars wisely and benefits farmers and consumers alike.” — Kansas Senator Jerry Moran, Topeka Capital-Journal, March 26, 2013
- “But farmers aren’t the only group that has come to love crop insurance. Bankers love it too. That’s because when farmers approach bankers for production loans, bankers regard a crop insurance policy as a form of collateral. Additionally, bankers know that a farmer who has paid his own money for a crop insurance policy is a farmer who has risk management in mind.” — Bill Bridgeforth, a farmer from Tanner, Alabama, in the Athens News Courier, April 27, 2013.
- “The federal government provides crop insurance subsidies to farmers in part to achieve high crop insurance participation and coverage levels, which are intended, according to USDA economists, to reduce the need for ad hoc disaster assistance payments to help farmers recover from natural disasters which can be costly.” — GAO Report on Crop Insurance, March, 2013
- “To this day, I have yet to have a single producer call me with a complaint about crop insurance. That is a testament to just how well your agents, your adjusters, the companies, and Risk Management Agency (RMA) worked together in one of the worst droughts in the history of this nation.” — USDA Under Secretary Michael Scuse, February, 2013
- “But there are those who are making uninformed and uneducated criticisms about crop insurance – and America’s farmers – in the midst of this national tragedy. According to the Washington-based Environmental Working Group, farmers have been “praying for drought, not rain.” Really? I’ve seen a lot of looks on the faces of my fellow farmers this past summer, as their crops and have withered despite their best efforts and their hopes for a great harvest have been dashed. — Mark Drewes, a farmer from Custar Ohio, in the Bowling Green Sentinel Tribune on September 18, 2012.