Direct Aid Program For Farmers Opposed By Crop Insurers

Officials from the crop insurance industry are voicing opposition to a proposal by an Iowa State University professor that the current system be replaced with a direct subsidy program. In testimony Friday before the House Agriculture Committee at a hearing on the proposed 2012 farm bill, Professor Bruce Babcock proposed the direct subsidy program as less costly than the current system. The professor said he believes that providing revenue protection to farmers from systemic risk by using an area-based revenue plan would be far less expensive than the current system. But officials of the National Crop Insurance Services, Overland Park, Kan., the trade group for the private insurers that operate the program, criticized Professor Babcock’s proposal.