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(BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.)—Farmers, risk management professionals, government officials, and the lawmakers who made crop insurance the centerpiece of farm policy have a lot to be proud of, and working together to tout those successes will be important to securing a promising future, according to Mike Day, chairman of National Crop Insurance Services.
“The new Administration and Congress have signaled the ushering in of a new pro-business environment in D.C.,” he told colleagues yesterday at the crop insurance industry’s annual convention. And that is good news for crop insurance providers, which work in close partnership with the federal government to help farmers recoup after disasters.
“The crop insurance cost-sharing structure; its impressive record against waste, fraud and abuse; and its efficient private-sector delivery system should make it a priority with a new crop of decision makers,” he said.
Day, who heads Rural Community Insurance Services (RCIS) for Zurich North America, said crop insurance is particularly important for rural America today because farmers depend on strong risk management tools when extreme weather and tough economic conditions strike.
“Today’s economic climate gives us an excellent opportunity to display just how important the modern-day farm safety net is,” he said, adding that unity among crop insurers and the agricultural community will be key to telling that story.
“Our critics cannot succeed if agriculture is united and is working hand-in-hand to educate the public,” he continued. “We saw this first-hand during the budget battles of late 2015, and we are already seeing agriculture rally behind crop insurance in preparation for the upcoming Farm Bill debate.”
Such support for crop insurance is not surprising. More than 90 percent of America’s farmland was insured in 2016, protecting $100 billion worth of crops. And farmers paid $3.4 billion out of their own pockets to buy protection – a far cry of past farm policies that were completely funded by taxpayers.
“As we embark on our educational efforts, we must convey that crop insurance works because it is affordable for producers, because it is widely available, and because it is economically viable,” Day concluded. “Upset any of those components, and the entire crop insurance infrastructure is in disarray.”