Senate Ag Chair Encourages Greater Outreach, Education to Counter Attacks on Crop Insurance

(INDIAN WELLS, Calif.) — The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Nutrition addressed crop insurers during the annual meeting of the American Association of Crop Insurers and the National Crop Insurance Services and pledged to “preserve, protect, and defend” this public-private partnership against the challenges ahead.

During his keynote speech, Sen. Pat Roberts praised the ability of the industry to work together to stave off cuts to crop insurance that were included in last year’s budget deal noting that agriculture can be a powerful force when it is united.

“I’m proud of the way we all stood up and found a solution,” said Roberts. “Working with Chairman Conaway in the House and what was nearly the entire agriculture industry, we were able to fix a shortsighted legislative cut to crop insurance.”

He also warned that more teamwork would be needed in the days ahead as critics continue to attack this important risk management tool. Additionally, he encouraged crop insurers to double their outreach and education efforts stating that not all lawmakers in Washington understand farm policy.

“My challenge to you today is to find more allies, leave no stone unturned,” said Roberts. “We have to increase the number of voices defending crop insurance both inside the Congress and out in the countryside.”

Roberts explained that he has spent his career working to improve the reach and mechanics of crop insurance while helping to move farm policy away from unbudgeted ad hoc disaster assistance. The 2014 Farm Bill made the most significant changes to reach more producers and commodities than ever before.

“We should all be proud that crop insurance has grown into the number one risk management tool for the majority of farmers and ranchers across this great country,” added Roberts. “Let’s keep their tool box full so they can manage risks on their own operation, stay in business, and pass the farm onto the next generation.”