As Farm Bill Discussions Get Underway, NCIS Unveils Updated Website

OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 5, 2017 – National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS) is pleased to announce it has updated and redesigned the award-winning Crop Insurance in America website. The revamped website aims to effectively share crop insurance’s success story by offering visitors streamlined access to the latest news and information on crop insurance, as well as encouraging interaction on social media channels.

The site has a crisp, clean design, improved social media sharing tools, and increased security settings.

Features include an updated comprehensive question-and-answer resource, Just the Facts, that lays out the facts about crop insurance and dispels some of the most common arguments against crop insurance put forth by its critics.

The site also features a robust news section that houses recent press releases, the association’s What’s Cropping Up newsletter, relevant headlines, quotes, and other resources, including social media content for easy sharing.

Other items available on the site include updated fact sheets on the importance of crop insurance to individual states; farmer testimonials; a detailed history of the program; a look at the essential strengths of the program, and more.

“The crop insurance program is the cornerstone of the farm safety net and has a great story to tell,” said Tom Zacharias, president of NCIS. “We hope this updated website will provide visitors with a better understanding as to why crop insurance is so valuable, not just to farmers, but to taxpayers as well, and will encourage them to share its success story with others.”

NCIS launched this website in 2008 to better explain the benefits of crop insurance to farmers, taxpayers, and consumers, and to demonstrate how the program helps drive the nation’s rural economy.  In 2015, NCIS was honored to have the website selected by the United States Library of Congress (LOC) to be part of America’s historic collection of Internet materials.

Click here to explore the updated Crop Insurance in America site.


Vital Role of Crop Insurance Highlighted at CIRB National Meeting

Speakers including the Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman and Ranking Member, the Risk Management Agency Administrator, and several industry leaders underscored the vital role of crop insurance as the cornerstone of federal farm policy during the 48th annual meeting of the Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau (CIRB). The two-day meeting was held in Scottsdale, Arizona, and featured the following comments:

  • “We have heard loud and clear that crop insurance is one of the most critical risk management tools, embraced by farmers and producers in all parts of the country. We will continue working to strengthen crop insurance to make it available to more producers and to make sure farmers have the tools they need to effectively manage their risk.” –Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow.
  • “This program has traveled leaps and bounds from where it first started, and it has now become the most important risk management tool in most producers’ toolboxes. Like CIRB, my goal is to maintain a robust risk management program that is delivered by the private sector, which is critical for providing jobs in rural America and excellent service to producers.” — Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Ranking Member Pat Roberts.
  • “Crop insurance is a vital part of the farm safety net and has become an integral part of business life for a large majority of American farmers and ranchers. In years like this one, the value of this critical safety net is made clear.” –USDA’s Risk Management Agency Administrator William Murphy.
  • “Crop insurance literally saved my operation this year – I seldom have claims of any size, but the Mississippi River flood wiped out a lot of my crop. It’s a critical program that I have faith in, and the private sector delivery system is second to none.” — John McKee, Owner and General Manager, Westside Farms, McKee Planting Co.
  • “Support for crop insurance is at an all-time high – among policymakers and farmers. Without a doubt, crop insurance has a very bright future.” — Jim Wiesemeyer, Senior Vice President, Informa Economics.
  • “While policy development and positions among commodity groups are fluid, there is one point of agreement: crop insurance is a risk management tool that farmers cannot live without.” — Mary Kay Thatcher, Senior Director, Congressional Relations, American Farm Bureau Federation.
  • “In the crop insurance community, weather is at the forefront of everything that you do. Looking ahead at 2012 and what we might expect, it’s possible that volatility is the new standard, and natural disasters are just going to become one of the many expected costs of doing business.” — Drew Lerner, Senior Agricultural Meteorologist, Founder and President, World Weather, Inc.
  • “As a reinsurance intermediary, I can testify that commercial reinsurance is a critical component of the crop insurance program. While the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation provides some level of reinsurance support, the role of the commercial reinsurance community is essential.” — John Reinman, Guy Carpenter & Co., CIRB Board Member.
  • “Government clearly has a role to play in crop insurance by making valuable private sector-backed insurance policies available and affordable for all growers in the United States. Without this public-private partnership, farmers would be unable to meet the challenge should Mother Nature indeed give us another weather year like we just experienced.” — Sam Scheef, chairman, CIRB.

Crop Value, Crop Insurance Coverage At Record High

At least $110 billion worth of crop insurance liability – the largest amount in U.S. history – will be written this year, underscoring the popularity of crop insurance and the growing value of agricultural commodities, according to National Crop Insurance Services (NCIS).

“The value of our agricultural output is at an all-time high,” said NCIS President, Tom Zacharias, at a March 8 news conference. According to the Federal Reserve Bank this is helping to fuel the overall economic recovery in the U.S.

Best of all, Zacharias noted, “If disaster strikes and puts the valuable 2011 crop at peril, it is the private sector delivery system, and not the U.S. taxpayer, who will be the first line of defense to ensure that America’s farmers do not suffer severe financial hardship due to events out of their control.”

In a recent guest opinion article in the Traverse City (Michigan) Record-Eagle, Zacharias noted that it is easy to see why crop insurance has gained so much popularity with farmers, pointing out that more than 1.1 million policies covering 256 million acres across the U.S. were written in 2010 to deal with risks. “Nationally, this public/private partnership enabled the government to turn a modest investment into nearly $80 billion in protection in 2010,” he added.

Crop insurance was designed by lawmakers to combine the strengths of the government and private sector to best leverage taxpayer investment. The government’s main role is to regulate the business and subsidize farmer premiums making coverage more affordable and practical for farmers who greatly need tools to hedge their risks. Farmers purchase the policies and pay for a portion of the premiums out of their own pockets. The policies are sold by licensed agents and serviced by private insurance companies.

“Without the crop insurance program that we have in place today, U.S. agriculture could be facing a liability of $110 billion, should farmers get hit with a catastrophe in 2011,” noted Zacharias. “That would be unsustainable. Congress should be applauded for structuring a system that achieves so much return on investment,” he added.

Every dollar of investment achieved $20 of protection last year – a gap that should grow substantially in 2011. Zacharias says that he hopes Congress will consider this return on investment as it begins writing the 2012 Farm Bill.

Michigan Senator and Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), recently outlined her principles for the upcoming Farm Bill, urging us not to look at the 2012 Farm Bill under the lens defined by budget concerns or specific programs but instead from principles like “creating the best safety net and the best tools possible for managing risk.” She added, “We need an effective safety net so that we aren’t watching family businesses go under because of a few days of bad weather or market factors outside of their control.”

Michigander and crop insurance agent, Mike Gaynier, echoed the importance of the farm safety net to the state’s diverse agriculture sector during a recent national radio interview. “Crop insurance provides protection to producers of Michigan’s lucrative specialty crops — like the well-known tart cherry crop, or important grains like corn, wheat and soybeans — should prices crash or Mother Nature deal an unwelcome blow. In fact, it is the only safety net tool available for most fruit and vegetable growers,” he concluded