The House Agriculture Committee recently handed farmers in Minnesota and Ohio the microphone to ask them what rural America would like to see in the next Farm Bill. A common refrain? Protect crop insurance.
We’ve compiled several highlights from these field hearings – check them out below.
Growers in both states stated that a strong crop insurance program is key in the next Farm Bill. It was named as the top Farm Bill priority for the Minnesota Corn Growers Association, the National Corn Growers Association, and the Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association.
As the cornerstone of the farm safety net, it’s clear that crop insurance has earned the overwhelming trust of America’s farmers.
“Crop insurance has demonstrated itself to be an invaluable tool for wheat farmers in Ohio and across the country where we see more frequent weather disruptions and unprecedented increase in prices for inputs,” Ohio farmer Paul Herringshaw said.
The uncertainty of the current farm economy and the financial stress of high input prices were common themes in the hearings.
“High fuel, high crop inputs, economy-wide inflationary pressures, these are all chipping away at margins. Given this, the Farm Bill safety net and crop insurance are… very key to creating a predictable operating environment for these farmers,” explained KC Graner, the Senior Vice President of Agronomy at Central Farm Service, headquartered in Minnesota.
Minnesota’s hosting farmer, Bruce Peterson, cited a number of reasons why crop insurance is important, including the premium discount provided for young farmers. This additional discount for young farmers not only makes crop insurance affordable, but it also allows them to secure an operating loan.
“Once they can take that that crop insurance coverage to their lender, that’s a key point and especially important now with our costs continuing to ratchet higher, much more expensive to put a crop in now than many years ago,” Peterson explained.
Eric Hokanson deals with both sides of the farm and finance equation, growing soybeans in Minnesota while working at farm credit cooperative Compeer Financial. “[Crop insurance] is vital to all sizes and scopes of farms here in the U.S. This allows farmers to hedge their risks and market their crops. This is especially important to young farmers like myself to be able to have a guaranteed source of repayment when disaster strikes or Mother Nature decides to not cooperate,” he testified.
Congress also heard from organic farmers, including Ohio grower Eli Dean, who praised the individualized and responsive nature of crop insurance. “[Crop insurance] works great for our farm. It works great for our communities… if we have a disaster, we are compensated for it quickly.”
We appreciate Congress taking the time to travel the country to hear directly from America’s farmers. Want to learn more about crop insurance? Visit CropInsuranceInAmerica.org to watch more Real Stories from America’s heartland.