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As farmers, we’re willing to pay extra for the protection HPO offers because it gives you the faith you need to put your borrowed money in the ground and know you’ll be able to pay it back. I hope Congress will leave crop insurance alone in the Farm Bill.
While crop insurance has changed a lot since the 1980s, prices haven’t. Net farm income is lower now than it was 5 years ago while input costs in fuel and labor are all up.
A handful of farm policy critics in D.C, who have never stepped foot on a farm, are quick to call for cuts to crop insurance despite the fact it is more efficient and cost-effective than the alternative.
For beginning farmers, having this protection is especially important. Many young farmers rely on banks for operating loans. And banks won’t make these loans without assurance that farmers would have a way to pay it back if Mother Nature strikes.
I hope Congress remembers in the next farm bill that crop insurance is not only necessary for rural America, but that ultimately it protects the consumer. Without it, we would not be able to provide a safe, reliable and affordable food supply for America and the rest of the world.
Farm policy critics would do well to remember that every American consumer relies on agriculture. We all want healthy, fresh food for our families. We also want affordable food. In today’s difficult farm economy, crop insurance provides an important measure of stability.
As Congress starts debate over the next Farm Bill, which sets out rules for crop insurance, I would like policymakers to remember this program is the only thing standing between bankruptcy and the ability to plant again for many Maryland growers. And they should appreciate that crop insurance is not a handout.
Premiums are more affordable for farmers through a government discount. Insurance products have expanded to include more crops across the country. Both of these factors have increased participation and broadened the risk pool, which makes the program more actuarially sound.
Our policymakers often agree that coverage for natural disasters like wind, hail and drought are critical and appropriate. But the debate often focuses on whether revenue coverage is really needed. I can assure you this product has become a critical tool that is equally as important as the amazing technological advancements that have made our farms the most efficient and productive in the world.
Right now, Washington think tanks are launching an inexplicable attack on crop insurance in an effort to dismantle the program by trying to portray it as a giveaway to farmers and as a tool that only benefits large, established farmers.