The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is committed to affordable and flexible crop insurance for the nation’s farmers, ranchers, and producers, according to Secretary Tom Vilsack.
He made his pre-recorded remarks on the second day of the crop insurance industry’s annual convention in California.
“Your work is critical to helping America’s farmers, ranchers, and producers manage the risky, but necessary, business of producing our food, fuel, and fiber that so many take for granted,” he said.
Vilsack said he’s seen historic droughts, hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and many other disasters in his time as USDA secretary. He said the farmers, ranchers, and producers who had crop insurance told him it gave them the confidence to rebuild and make it to the next growing season.
“They knew that one bad year, one lost crop, wouldn’t mean losing the family farm or ranch that had been in the family for generations because they had that insurance product, that didn’t necessarily make them whole, but did keep them in the game,” he said.
Before, during, and after disasters, agents, and adjusters help deliver for agriculture. America’s farm policy is the envy of the world, he said.
“And the public-private partnership of Federal crop insurance is one of its key components,” he said.
More and more farmers are choosing to invest in crop insurance, in part, because payments are fast but also because the program continues to innovate. He noted the growth in coverage options for different crops and production systems.
He said USDA is working to help producers effectively manage risk through crop insurance with programs including row crop, whole farm revenue protection, rainfall index programs for forage and dairy safety net services to protect against market fluctuations.
USDA is innovating with new insurance options for small producers who sell locally through the micro farm policy that simplifies record keeping and covers post-production costs. It is also working to make cover crops more affordable.
Data from crop insurance is helping to streamline the process and reduce the burden on producers.
“You all have basically helped provide opportunities and hope to our farm families,” he said.
The agency sees its partnership with crop insurance as the path forward to securing the nation’s food supply.
“At USDA, we are laser focused on making sure that every farmer, rancher, and producer of food, fuel and fiber can access the needed crop insurance tools to manage their operating risk,” he said.