Crop insurance is the cornerstone of the farm safety net and an invaluable risk management tool for America’s farmers. This message was underscored during a recent House Agriculture Subcommittee hearing called by Subcommittee Chairwoman Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.)
“I hear through pretty much every ag meeting I have how important the Federal crop insurance program is to help farmers manage their risk,” Bustos said in her opening remarks.
Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation, testified before the subcommittee about the steps that the U.S. Department of Agriculture is taking to help America’s farmers and ranchers deal with the increasing risks of farming. Bonnie began his testimony by emphasizing the role that crop insurance plays in helping agriculture defend against climate change.
“With increasing extreme weather, crop insurance remains a vital tool for agriculture,” Bonnie said. “Crop insurance is absolutely critical,” he added later during questioning from members of Congress.
The public-private crop insurance program is an important component of the farm safety net. This is especially true as farmers experience more crop losses due to adverse weather events driven by a changing climate. When disaster strikes, crop insurance gives farmers the stability they need to plant again.
The success of crop insurance earned praise from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle throughout the hearing.
“I consistently hear from producers that Federal crop insurance works, it works well for them, and that the program does not need major changes,” said Rep. Angie Craig (D-Minn.).
More than 50 farming, banking, and conservation organizations representing groups from across rural America recently echoed this call to protect crop insurance when they sent letters to policymakers asking them to oppose any budget cuts to the program.
Farmers want to ensure that crop insurance remains strong, because they trust in the program to provide a safety net when disaster strikes. In fact, farmers rely on crop insurance to protect more than 90 percent of insurable farmland in the United States. This trust is built on crop insurance’s long record of delivering aid to farmers quickly and efficiently.
Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) also pointed to the speed of crop insurance during the hearing.
“I think that the crop insurance system we’ve got has done a really good job from a customer service perspective as well as making sure those indemnities get out in the field as quickly as possible,” Johnson said. “The public-private partnership has delivered a tremendous amount of value.”
It’s no wonder that more and more farmers are protecting their livelihood with crop insurance.