wheat field with blue sky

As America’s farmers and ranchers continue to face immense climate and weather-related challenges, both the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and private-sector crop insurers are committed to strengthening the crop insurance program. Crop insurance serves as the first line of defense for American agriculture.

“We recognize that crop insurance is the core of the [farm] safety net,” said Honorable Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation at USDA, in his remarks this week at the crop insurance industry’s annual convention. “We recognize the vital importance of crop insurance to manage the risks of U.S. agriculture.” Bonnie noted the investments that farmers have already made in sustainable farming practices such as conservation tillage, cover crops, and measures to improve soil health, all of which are practices that are compatible with the requirements of the crop insurance program. “Farmers and ranchers have been doing [these conservation practices] for a long, long time – before we called them climate-smart,” Bonnie said. “Crop insurance is already a critical climate tool; it already provides significant economic resilience and sustainability that is critically important.” One of the key strengths of crop insurance is that it can quickly adapt to meet the needs of farmers amid a changing climate. Congress, USDA, and crop insurers have worked together to improve the voluntary adoption of climate-smart farming practices that increase resiliency, improve conservation, and support a healthy environment. USDA will continue to look at new and innovative ways to improve crop insurance and ensure the program works better for all farm producers, while maintaining its actuarial soundness, Bonnie said. He also commended the growth of the program, with an 83 percent increase in acres covered over the last decade, and its ability to quickly deliver aid when and where it’s needed. Crop insurance paid out more than $20 billion during the 2022 crop year to keep farmers in business after disaster. “For us, crop insurance is a priority,” Bonnie said. “We continue to budget strongly for crop insurance, recognizing that it is a vital part of what we do for the American farmer and rancher.”