As Farm Bill discussions continue, so do the misguided attacks on America’s farm policy. But the ag community is making its voice heard, taking to newspaper opinion pages across the country to stress the indispensable role crop insurance plays in helping American farmers provide affordable food for America and the world.
Dorian Culver, a soybean farmer and crop insurance agent from from Harrisonville, Missouri, said that crop insurance is more important than ever in a guest column appearing in The Columbia Daily Tribune.
He pointed out that in addition to the typical weather rollercoaster, farmers are facing another year of low prices. Meanwhile, input costs (farm equipment, fertilizer, land rent, etc.) remain the same.
“It doesn’t take a math whiz to see that the numbers just aren’t adding up for our nation’s farmers,” Culver wrote.
Culver, a lifelong farmer, said that he hasn’t seen this kind of downturn since the farm crisis of the 1980s. But thankfully, a few things have changed since then that puts us in a better position to weather this latest storm.
“One of the most important developments is the emergence of a strong crop insurance program,” Culver wrote.
According to Culver, a strong crop insurance program protects not only farmers, but everyone who eats. He said that farm policy critics would do well to remember that every American consumer relies on agriculture.
“Access to affordable crop insurance allows American farmers to continue to provide affordable food for America and the world. Without it, I can guarantee you it wouldn’t take long for it to hit everyone’s pocketbook at the grocery store,” Culver wrote.
Culver called on lawmakers in Washington to also keep this in mind as they develop the next Farm Bill and to work together preserve a strong crop insurance program.
“After all, as the famous saying goes, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. And that’s something none of us can afford,” Culver concluded.
G. Bradford Reeves, a longtime crop insurance agent from Leonardtown, Maryland, also discussed the importance of the crop insurance program in a letter to the editor that appeared in The Enterprise recently.
Reeves’ letter, “Keep crop insurance affordable in Southern Maryland,” recalls a time when crop insurance wasn’t as widely available and affordable as it is today.
“When bad weather hit, farmers had to ask Congress for help through ad-hoc disaster legislation. Taxpayers had to cover the cost and famers waited years for much-needed relief arrive,” Reeves wrote.
Reeves noted that public-private partnership of modern crop insurance eliminates some of the stress that comes from working in agriculture. But even with the modern crop insurance we have today, many farmers are still struggling to break even.
Reeves called on lawmakers to “remember this program is the only thing standing between bankruptcy and the ability to plant again for many Maryland growers. And they should appreciate that crop insurance is not a handout.”
Reeves noted farmers across the country have collectively spent $50 billion out of their own pockets in the last 17 years for coverage. They also absorb the first 25 percent of any loss before their coverage kicks in.
“Our farmers want to be out in the field planting the crops and harvesting them to sell at market for a reasonable price. The best way to give them the chance to do that is to keep crop insurance affordable and widely available in the next Farm Bill,” Reeves concluded.