Groups: Stop crop insurance negotiations

Farm groups have expressed concern that the Obama administration’s negotiations with crop insurance companies to cut their subsidies could produce budget savings that would reduce the amount of money available for the next farm bill, but a spokesman for Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said April 12 the administration is willing to work with Congress to address those concerns. Reacting to a letter from a coalition of farm groups sent April 9 urging Vilsack to stop the negotiations and let Congress handle the issue, Justin De Jong, a Vilsack spokesman, said in an e-mail, “USDA remains open and willing to engage with the relevant congressional committees to achieve crop insurance reform in a way that addresses the baseline concerns expressed by the signatories of the letter.”