(BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.) — With crop insurance now cemented as the cornerstone of U.S. farm policy, political attacks are inevitable. But crop insurers will make education a top priority in 2015 and will address the critics, said Tim Weber, chairman of the American Association of Crop Insurers and National Crop Insurance Services.

“Those with an agenda or an anti-agriculture bent cannot be given free rein to define our industry or the policies that underpin the rural economy,” he explained today during the industry’s annual convention. “No one knows the virtues of crop insurance better than the men and women in this room, and I challenge us all today to leave no attack unchallenged in 2015.”

Weber noted three pillars that are essential for the continued success of crop insurance. They will be the focus of educational efforts and include: Keeping crop insurance affordable for producers to promote wide-scale participation; making sure it is widely available for numerous crops in all geographic locations; and ensuring the viability of private-sector insurance delivery.

“We have a great story to tell, and if we don’t tell it, then no one will – certainly not the way it must be told,” Weber said.

In addition to stepped-up education efforts, Weber said 2015 priorities will include working with allies and building new partnerships, making investments in the private-sector delivery system to constantly improve efficiency, and tirelessly guarding program integrity by stamping out waste, fraud and abuse.

“Make no mistake, crop insurance’s days of flying under the radar are done,” he concluded, “but we have a wonderful industry, supporting a sector that is arguably more important to America than any other, [and] we have lots of friends on Capitol Hill and in the farming community.”

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