In the President’s budget reduction proposal released yesterday, crop insurance and the farmers who both support it and depend on it are once again being asked to shoulder a disproportionate portion of the budget cuts.

In response to being asked to take more than $8 billion in budget cuts over the next decade, Tom Zacharias, President of National Crop Insurance Services, released the following statement:

“The crop insurance industry shares the President’s goal of deficit reduction, but we are deeply concerned that the President’s debt reduction proposals seriously threatens the viability of the crop insurance program, and with it the vital safety net it provides the nation’s farmers.

“We do not need to look to the past to know how important crop insurance is to agriculture today and in the future. This crop year is not even over yet and farmers have experienced extremely volatile commodity prices and devastating weather events — from droughts in Texas and Oklahoma to devastating floods in the Northeast and Midwest.

“The tragic irony in this proposal is that it may hamstring the nation’s primary risk management program that it is already contributing at least $4 billion towards deficit reduction as a result of program changes made last year – and $12 billion overall when changes made in the 2008 Farm Bill are taken into account. This is happening at a time when the industry is providing coverage on approximately 260 million acres at a value of over $110 billion. Congress needs to give the President’s proposals a very close examination and reject those elements that truly threaten the federal safety net on which farmers and our rural economy can rely.”