As policymakers consider budget decisions for Fiscal Year 2023, rural America is once again asking that they “do no harm” to crop insurance.
Last week, a diverse coalition representing 55 farming, banking, and conservation organizations called on government officials to oppose cuts to crop insurance. The coalition delivered letters to the House and Senate budget and appropriations committees, as well as to the Secretary of Agriculture and Acting Director of the Office of Management and Budget, emphasizing the importance of crop insurance as a risk management tool.
America’s farmers and ranchers have been dealt a series of tough years, marked by extreme weather events. Despite the increasingly uncertain nature of farming, the certainty of crop insurance has provided an invaluable safety net for our farm producers, our food supply, and our rural communities.
“As the challenges for America’s farmers and ranchers continue to grow, we believe crop insurance as a safety net is only becoming more important to stability in rural America. During this tumultuous time, one of the few certainties that farmers could rely on was the protection provided by their Federal crop insurance policy,” the letters state.
Throughout each disaster, the crop insurance program has worked exactly as Congress intended, delivering aid in a timely manner to keep America growing. As the letters point out, the success of the crop insurance program is no accident.
Crop insurance is designed to provide individualized risk management to America’s farmers, no matter what they grow or where they grow it. Furthermore, its unique public-private partnership requires farmers and ranchers to share in the risk. Farmers and ranchers spent approximately $5 billion in 2021 to purchase crop insurance and then were required to shoulder deductibles before aid arrived.
Importantly, the letter highlighted the role crop insurance plays in helping farmers respond to climate change, increase resiliency, and invest in conservation efforts. This is strengthened by its nature of being a data-driven program.
“Crop insurance allows producers to customize their policies to their individual farm and financial needs and policies are based on fundamental market principles, which means higher risk areas and higher value crops pay higher premiums for insurance,” the letters state. “Crop insurance and its links to conservation further ensure that the program is a good investment for taxpayers.”
The letters close with a call to oppose any budget cuts to crop insurance.