PHOENIX—The eyes of the agricultural community are on crop insurance this week as lawmakers, commodity leaders and insurers gather for the industry’s annual meeting. To kick off the event, National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) today released the first installment of an educational video series that examines the upcoming Farm Bill.
The “Risk Management Minute” videos plainly explain the consequences of legislative proposals that would drive up insurance costs for farmers, exclude some operations from coverage, and make the system less economically viable for the private sector.
Crop insurance’s cost-sharing structure – where farmers help offset taxpayer risk exposure by paying premiums and meeting deductibles – is the focus of the first piece. Others will be made public throughout February.
“Congress used to call on taxpayers to pick up the pieces after Mother Nature struck,” the cost-share video explains. “Now, farmers help fund their own recovery.”
Farmers collectively pay between $3.5 billion and $4 billion a year in premiums, even in years without a disaster, NCIS noted.
Farmers also must shoulder, on average, 25 percent of losses before receiving aid. Those deductibles have totaled more than $30 billion in farmer losses under the 2014 Farm Bill.
“That’s a lot, but some farm policy critics want to upend this cost-sharing agreement. They want to make insurance less affordable,” the video continued.
For example, one legislative proposal would cap the premium discounts that farmers receive from the government. This would ultimately drive up farmer cost, reduce insurance participation and make unbudgeted, taxpayer-funded disaster bills more likely.
“Congress made crop insurance a cornerstone of U.S. farm policy for a reason. It works. It’s efficient. It saves money. And it’s popular,” the video concludes. “No wonder so many farmers are saying ‘do no harm’ to crop insurance in the Farm Bill.”
The video can be viewed at www.CropInsuranceInAmerica.org and on NCIS’s social media channels.