The House Agriculture Committee has been crisscrossing the country this summer to visit with farmers and ranchers about their priorities in the upcoming Farm Bill. These listening sessions have been extensive, and Committee members have touted their usefulness.

Following the most recent forum in California this week, Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) addressed the sugar industry’s annual meeting in San Diego.

“One of the common themes on the listening sessions has been the importance of crop insurance,” he told the sugar producers. “Over and over and over we’ve had that conversation with folks.”

What’s Cropping Up was interested in what Agriculture Committee members have been hearing, so we watched nearly five hours of footage of sessions in San Angelo, Texas, and Morgan, Minnesota.

The Chairman’s assessment was correct. Crop insurance has been front and center. Below is a sampling of what was said about farmers’ primary risk management tool.

“Crop insurance is so vital to this state; so vital to every crop in (Texas). Whether it be corn, wheat, or cotton – all of the crops come very much into play when it comes to crop insurance.”
Russell Boening, president, Texas Farm Bureau

“Farmers, ag leaders, equipment dealers – everyone involved in agriculture – agrees that crop insurance should remain a viable and affordable tool for managing risk.”
Richard Gaona, president, Rolling Plains Cotton Growers

“How can I and my fellow farmers stay in business? Number 1 (priority) is crop insurance. … Crop insurance is indispensable.”
Ben Scholz, National Association of Wheat Growers

“With more frequent and intense weather patterns, rising interest rates and production costs and lower commodity prices, our risk has gone up while our balance sheets have gone down. We simply have to have affordable crop insurance to manage those risks.”
Kyle Peterson, chairman, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative

“Farmers borrow more in one year to produce a crop than most Americans do in a lifetime. Our growers, and our bankers, need strong risk management tools like crop insurance that are essential in order to secure operating loans to grow our crop.”
Kyle Peterson, chairman, Southern Minnesota Beet Sugar Cooperative

“When there’s a crop loss, there’s going to be a loss of income on the farm but with a good crop insurance program, and working capital, we may help them farm another year.”
Howard Olsen, AgCountry Farm Credit Services

“I was involved in a hailstorm this year where we lost the corn and the bean crop on one farm. With crop insurance, we’re not going to make any money at that this year, but I am going to be able to farm again next year because of risk management tools.”
Kevin Paap, president, Minnesota Farm Bureau

“Crop insurance – please protect it. Crop insurance is so vitally important. … It is a key component to obtaining credit.”
Bruce Peterson, Minnesota Corn Growers

“Crop insurance is so important to me. We have three families directly that drive income from our farm and if we did not have crop insurance we would not be able to survive.”
Noah Hultgren, Minnesota Corn Growers