(SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.) — Now that a new Farm Bill has been approved and crop insurance has emerged as the lynchpin of the farm safety net, the USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) is focused on quickly implementing the new law
RMA Administrator Brandon Willis, who spoke today at the crop insurance industry’s annual convention, said cooperation between the agency and crop insurers would be essential during implementation.
“There is not an agency that I would rather implement a Farm Bill with than the team that we have at the Risk Management Agency. I have a high degree of confidence that the staff we have there will get this done right,” he said. “Throughout the process, we will work with our [private sector] partners, because I know you bring valuable experience…and a perspective that we don’t have,” he said.
Willis noted that the administration would prioritize implementation based on those programs that affect the most growers. He specifically mentioned ensuring a 2015 signup for the STAX program that provides enhanced insurance protection for cotton farmers and the new Supplemental Coverage Option for growers of other crops.
He also complimented crop insurers for their service record following the historic 2012 drought and for their hard work when the government was shut down earlier this year. But, he cautioned the industry not to rest on past successes.
Constantly improving crop insurance availability, program integrity, and communicating with farmers and the general public should be top goals of both the industry and RMA moving forward, he said.
With an eye to constant improvements, Willis believes the future is strong.
“There is one simple reason why crop insurance has lasted for over 75 years while other programs have come and gone,” he concluded. “It’s because it makes sense…for consumers, for taxpayers, and for farmers.”