Do No Harm to Farm Insurance

By Andrew Bowman, Oneida, Illinois

Hearings have started in Washington on the next farm bill. I count myself as one of the many farmers who will stand together and urge Congress to “do no harm” to crop insurance, which has become the front line risk management tool for American farmers.

Crop insurance is a public-private partnership whereby farmers like myself put “skin in the game” by purchasing policies to manage the many risks we face in this line of work. It does not guarantee profits, nor does it ensure farmers cannot fail. It protects farmers against circumstances beyond their control but does not prevent poorly managed farms from going under. Essentially, it allows market forces to work. Farmers gladly purchase crop insurance, and last year spent $4.1 billion out of their own pockets to do so.

How well is crop insurance working? Last year, most of the Midwest sizzled under a heat wave and drought that cut harvests in half for some farmers and virtually destroyed entire…